Kevin Pietersen: Matthew Hayden says England exile ludicrous

Kevin Pietersen
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen is currently playing for Melbourne Stars in the Australian Big Bash

Former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden has described the decision by England to continually overlook batsman Kevin Pietersen as "ludicrous".

Pietersen's central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was terminated in February.

But Hayden, talking to BBC's Sportsweek programme, said: "It's ludicrous Kevin Pietersen is not in the England squad."

Speaking on Sunday, Pietersen said he remains "determined" to regain his England place.

Asked about Pietersen's absence from the 15-man World Cup squad announced on Saturday, Hayden said: "It's just crazy. World Cups are won on innovative batting."

England 2015 World Cup fixtures
DateOpponentsVenue
14 FebruaryAustraliaMelbourne
20 FebruaryNew ZealandWellington
23 FebruaryScotlandChristchurch
1 MarchSri LankaWellington
9 MarchBangladeshAdelaide
13 MarchAfghanistanSydney

Hayden's criticism follows the decision to drop Alastair Cook and appoint Eoin Morgan as England captain for the World Cup, which is being held in Australia and New Zealand in February and March.

Pietersen tweeted his approval of the move, saying: "Great news that @Eoin16 is new England 1-day captain. Top player, leader and bloke. Hope I get to play for him."

England, though, have not selected him since last winter's 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

Kevin Pietersen's record in Twenty20 cricket in 2014
Inns50s100sAveHS
Surrey120022.5039
Dehlhi Daredevils111029.4058
St Lucia Zouks20015.0023
Melbourne Stars21033.5066

After releasing him from his central contract, ECB managing director Paul Downton told the BBC's Test Match Special that Pietersen had appeared "disinterested" and "distracted" during the fifth Test in Sydney.

The ECB and Downton later apologised for the remarks.

Asked about whether Pietersen may be recalled following Morgan's promotion to captain, Downton told the Telegraph: "We parted company with Kevin because throughout the ECB management, from the dressing room up to the board, it was felt that it was the right decision to go in a slightly different direction."

Pietersen, responded by tweeting: "Despite the rather disrespectful comments by Paul Downton and James Whitaker [ECB National Selector] yesterday, I remain determined to regain my England place!"

In Pietersen's book, which was published in October, he claimed there was a "bullying culture" within the England team. He said former coach Andy Flower "ruled by fear" and former wicketkeeper Matt Prior was a disruptive influence on the team.

Kevin Pietersen's World Cup record with England
Inns50s100sAveHS
134247.91104
(ESPNCricinfo)

"If anything more bridges have been burned by Kevin's book. There is no interest from our point of view in going backwards," added Downton.

"We've got an exciting group of young players and Eoin's excited to be working with those guys. He wants to fulfil that team's potential."

Pietersen is currently playing for Melbourne Stars in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 competition, and hit 66 off 46 balls in their opening defeat to Adelaide Strikers.

Former England one-day coach Ashley Giles, now cricket director at Lancashire, has urged Cook to have a complete rest following his shock removal as England's one-day captain.

"Going forward it is important he has some time away because he has looked a tired man these last few weeks," said Giles

"Whoever he trusts most, go and see them and work out how he's going to start scoring heavily again in Test cricket. We all know he has the ability but at the moment he is not playing very well."

BBC Sport's Pat Murphy on Pietersen
"I don't believe he'll ever play for England again. He's 35 in June and hasn't played a lot of meaningful cricket in the last 12 months. I understand the England players don't talk about Kevin Pietersen any more."

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