Controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen was today included in England’s Test squad for the upcoming tour of India, bringing an end to his nearly three-month exile in the wake of the text message scandal.
The 32-year-old Pietersen’s surprise inclusion in the team for the tour of India was announced by the England selectors on Thrsday, after a series of meeting the star batsman had with senior players earlier this week.
The decision was made after Kevin Pietersen met with Andy Flower, Alastair Cook and a number of other senior players and members of England team management in Oxford.
ECB Managing Director - England Cricket, Hugh Morris said: “We were keen that Kevin should hold a series of face-to-face meetings with team management and senior players before the Test squad departs for the UAE and India next week. The meetings were constructive and cordial and all outstanding issues have been resolved. All the England players and management are now keen to draw a line under this matter and fully focus on the cricketing challenge that lies ahead in India,” he was quoted as saying in an ECB release.
ECB National Selector Geoff Miller added “we are pleased to welcome a player of Kevin’s proven international calibre back into the Test squad for such an important Test series.
“As we anticipate that Ian Bell will return home for the birth of his first child around the time of the 2nd Test in Mumbai, the team will benefit from having an extra batsman in the squad and all players who were originally selected for the tour will fly out as planned next week. Kevin will join up with the squad as soon as his Champions League commitments are complete.”
Pietersen was not initially among the 16 players named by the ECB last month for the India series following the bitter text message scandal involving his national team-mates.
Pietersen was embroiled in a controversy after revelation that he sent text messages to members of the South African touring squad containing derogatory remarks about then England captain Andrew Strauss. He was subsequently dropped for the final Test against South Africa.
After that he was not handed a central contract by the ECB and also left out of the England squad of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka despite making himself available for all forms of cricket.
Talks, however, continued in order to mend his relationship with senior team members among the ECB, Pietersen, coach Andy Flower and captain Alastair Cook —— mediated by the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
The England team is scheduled to reach India for four Tests and two T20 matches on October 29 and play the first Test match in Ahmedabad on November 15.