Kevin Pietersen’s prospects of playing for England in the summer’s Ashes series receded a little more today. The signs are that he will be fit, both Pietersen and England are extremely keen that he plays after the settlement of their little, local difficulty but it is no longer certain. At the very least, Pietersen will be far too short of meaningful cricket.
Having already been ruled out of the Test series against New Zealand it has been confirmed that Pietersen will also miss the Champions Trophy which starts in early June. Apart from reducing England’s chances of victory in that tournament it means that Pietersen will soon run out of time if he is to make the dressing room for the First Test against Australia at Trent Bridge on 10 July.
The latest bulletin on Pietersen’s knee injury was issued after a scan on Wednesday morning. This showed that although the bruising had improved it was not sufficient for him to resume full training until the middle of June. Surrey have a Championship match in Leeds starting on 21 June but then the domestic Twenty20 season starts. Much as Pietersen likes the short form it is hardly ideal preparation for a Test.
Pietersen sustained the injury during fielding practice before England’s warm-up match before the Test series in New Zealand in February. He managed to play the first two Tests before withdrawing from the third and although there were suggestions at the time that he should have struggled through it now seems that he and England might have been wiser to send him home earlier.
There is no suggestion of surgery being needed and the graduated rehabilitation implies that England are simply not willing to risk his fitness in any match before the Ashes. Pietersen himself can hardly complain of not being looked after properly.
Other England players are beginning to return to duty, none more spectacularly than Tim Bresnan. With his first ball back for Yorkshire after elbow surgery which forced him to miss the tour of New Zealand he bowled Keaton Jennings in the Championship match at Durham.
Thereafter he always posed a threat in splendid conditions for his craft and finished with four for 41 in 20 overs. England will be fortune to proceed through the ten Ashes tests in scheduled in six months without using seven or eight fast bowlers and Bresnan is sure to be one of them.
Stuart Broad, who will probably start as one of the first choices, also took four wickets for Nottinghamshire at Derby, causing early damage with the new ball as the home side were dismissed for 256.
The leader of the England attack, Jimmy Anderson, was slightly more low key, finishing with two for 48 in 26 well controlled overs in the second division against Kent. Of almost equal interest was the return of Chris Tremlett to Surrey after various injuries to knee and back. He was not required to bowl on the first day of the match against Sussex but all eyes will be on him today.
No England batsmen were in action, presumably on the grounds that batting is much harder work than bowling.