Kevin Pietersen: knee injury sidelines England batsman
Third Test: England v New Zealand
- Venue: Auckland
- Date: 22-26 March
- Start time: 21:30 GMT (21-26 March)
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 LW & via BBC Sport website; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobile devices
England batsman Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out for six to eight weeks with an injury to his right knee.
The 32-year-old will miss England's final Test against New Zealand, which starts on Thursday.
He has also been withdrawn from next month's Indian Premier League where he was to play with the Delhi Daredevils.
"As Kevin Pietersen flies home, thoughts on the implications of the injury news turn to his lucrative deal with the IPL and who will replace him in the England side.
"On the face of it, it would seem that a simple recall for Jonny Bairstow would occur.
"It will not be easy for him as he has not played a first-class innings since November in Mumbai.
"However, with uncertainty over the pitch at Eden Park, England may opt for an extra seamer, with Chris Woakes in line for a Test debut."
Yorkshire batsman Jonny Bairstow, who has not played a first-class innings since November 2012, replaces Pietersen in the team.
It remains to be seen whether Pietersen can return in time for New Zealand's tour to England, with the first Test set to begin on 16 May at Lord's.
The series is tied at 0-0 heading into the final Test.
Pietersen was due to join up with the Daredevils in India following the third Test in Auckland, with the IPL set to start on 3 April.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has said all centrally contracted players must be back in the country to begin preparations for the Lord's Test against the Black Caps on 5 May.
Following that two Test series, England compete in the Champions Trophy at home before the first Test in the back-to-back Ashes series starts at Trent Bridge on 10 July.
The Surrey player first experienced knee pain while fielding in the warm-up match in Queenstown at the start of the month. The problem failed to go away and the he spent time off the field during the drawn first Test in Dunedin.
Subsequent scans have confirmed an injury to the knee, with bone bruising and possible cartilage damage to the kneecap.
Pietersen will now return to the UK for a further medical review, plus a programme of rest and rehabilitation.
He scored a duck and 12 in the first Test against New Zealand, but bounced back with 73 in his only innings in the drawn second Test in Wellington.
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