Kevin Pietersen: “Series need to be decided on as to the level of importance of the fixtures. New Zealand, in May, in England, I’m sorry – I know people will hate me for saying it – but I’ve got no interest”
Speaking on The Hussain and Key Cricket Show, Kevin Pietersen criticises England’s ‘rest and rotation’ policy adopted during their Test tour of India
Kevin Pietersen has criticised England’s ‘rest and rotation’ policy adopted during their Test tour of India in February, arguing players themselves should be allowed a greater say in when they play or do not.
During the series, which England lost 3-1, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali – regulars across all three formats – all travelled home at some point, before returning for the white-ball leg of the tour.
Talking on The Hussain and Key Cricket Show – which you can listen to as a podcast in the player above – Pietersen argued there are other windows in the schedule more suited to rotation, such as the two-match Test series at home to New Zealand in early June.
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“I’ve been fairly vocal about this rest and rotation policy,” said Pietersen. “It’s not to say the result [in India] would have been different at all but, be that as it may, 100 per cent there needed to be a two-way discussion around the fact.
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“Anybody who has played for England will agree; you want to be playing against India in India. You want to play against them in England. You want to play in the Ashes. In a World Cup.
“Where am I going with this? As highly rated, and highly ranked, as New Zealand are, I can sometimes not even remember some of the runs I’ve scored against New Zealand.
“Series need to be decided on as to the level of importance of the fixtures. New Zealand, in May, in England, I’m sorry – I know people will hate me for saying it – but I’ve got no interest. Zero. However, do I want to play against India in England later in the summer? Absolutely.
“If you are going to have to start resting and rotating, let them have holidays in series that are not going to define their careers.
Sky Sports’ Rob Key understands England’s rest and rotation policy but says the ECB could have been more flexible with it during the Test series defeat in India
“Most of these guys are in a position now where they can dictate their schedule. Player power is real – I wish it was around 12 years ago – and I can’t for a second imagine there would be a player who wouldn’t want to play.
“With that now being a thing, these guys should look at it like, ‘what is going to determine my career?’
“When I walk around now, at the age of 40, you get spoken to about how you played in India, how you were in the Ashes.
“Being part of the legends series out in India, with all the guys that have played international cricket, no one could understand why anyone was rotated in such a big series. They were like ‘what on earth were England doing?'”
England followed up their Test series defeat with a 3-2 loss in a thrilling T20 series played out between the top two ranked teams in the world.
Ahead of the T20 World Cup back in India in October this year, there has been discussion over Dawid Malan’s place in the side at No 3 and whether England are getting the best out of all-rounder Ben Stokes.
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Pietersen offered up his solution: “I’d move him [Stokes] up the order; I’d bat him at No 4.
“Bairstow is an opening batsman in the one-day game and, having watched the display he put on in Pune the other night [in the first ODI], that brought me to the decision that for the T20 World Cup in India, I believe that he should be batting at No 3, Stokes at No 4.
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“Malan is a touch and feel player. He plays the short ball well, but when he has to go after the spinner, with the pace slowed down in the middle overs on the sub-continent, it is difficult to bat, difficult to keep hitting those boundaries, hitting sixes.
“If it was in Australia, where he could use the pace, play the pull shot, hit balls over extra cover, then no problem.
“As difficult a decision as it will be, and should be, he is not the one with the best stats in India. That’s the point here.”
Also discussed on The Hussain and Key Cricket Show:
– Should Jos Buttler open in the T20 World Cup and could Alex Hales return?
England captain Eoin Morgan says Jofra Archer’s elbow injury has got ‘progressively worse’ and ‘needs investigation’
– Are England too reliant on Jofra Archer and how to get the best out of him?
– England’s problems playing spin in the Test series defeat in India and how did KP cope?
– The management of ‘mavericks’ in cricket teams and how India should build around supreme talent Rishabh Pant.
Watch the second one-day international between India and England, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30am on Friday.