- Special Pages
AUCKLAND: England batsman Kevin Pietersen will miss the last Test against New Zealand and the Indian Premier League due to a knee injury which may sideline him for up to eight weeks, officials said yesterday.
“The injury is likely to require ongoing assessments and a likely 6-8 week period of rest and rehabilitation,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement, two days before the start of the series-deciding game.
The ECB said the 32-year-old suffered pain in his right knee while fielding earlier this month in preparation for a warm-up game in New Zealand, before the Test series began.
“This has failed to resolve satisfactorily,” it said.
Recent scans confirmed bone bruising and possible cartilage damage to the kneecap, and Pietersen would return to Britain “for further investigations and specialist review”.
He had been withdrawn from all cricket including the Indian Premier League, it said.
New Zealand will eye a rare series win and England will try to cement their position as the number-two Test nation in the third and final Test starting tomorrow in Auckland, following rain-affected draws in the first two games.
Pietersen made 0 and 12 in the first Test at Dunedin but came back with 73 in Wellington.
The estimated recovery period makes him a doubtful starter for the return series in England against New Zealand beginning on May 16.
England will be hoping that Pietersen, who in 2009 was forced out of the Ashes with an Achilles injury, will be fit in time for this summer’s Champions Trophy and Ashes series.
Pietersen returned to the England fold last October.
The Surrey batsman was cast into international exile last August after sending text messages to touring South African players that contained criticism of then-England captain Andrew Strauss during the Test series.
Clarke is pretty confident of his chances: Cowan
New Delhi: Opening batsman Ed Cowan yesterday backed Shane Watson to lead Australia in the fourth and final Test against India starting tomorrow if skipper Michael Clarke is unfit and also hoped the team would bounce back after three consecutive defeats.
“Firstly, it is important to know that Michael is expected to play, so at the moment Shane Watson isn’t the captain of the team. If that happened, the team is very happy with that because he is the vice-captain of the tour and there are expectations that the vice-captain steps up if the captain is injured. I guess we know that was always going to be a possibility,” Cowan told reporters at the Feroze Shah Kotla after a practice session.
An out-of-form Watson has been in the centre of controversy after he was sidelined for the third Test in Mohali along with three others over a breach of discipline last week.
Watson was angry and left for home to be with his wife Lee, who delivered baby boy Will last Thursday. Watson, who left India contemplating retirement, however, returned in time to be with the team for the fourth Test starting here tomorrow.
Cowan said Watson is a “great player and a good leader.”
“Shane is quite a good player and a good leader in his own right, so it will be a good opportunity for him if he gets that opportunity. He (Watson) has probably decided to come back with a full focus and we will accept him because he is such a great player and a good leader,” Cowan said.
“He is a senior player around the group and it is important those kinds of players are on board because we need those guys for this team to be the best team in the world.”
Cowan said Watson was different from Clarke, who is struggling with back pain.
“He is a very different leader to Michael but we’re hoping Michael is fine for this Test. He (Clarke) is such a great batsman and we need his runs and his leadership,” he said.
Asked about Clarke’s chances, Cowan said: “He basically said that he has got the best possible medical team working over time on his back, it is a condition that he has got for a long time and he has not missed a Test yet so he is not expecting to miss this. He is pretty confident and I guess because he is so familiar with it and it is something that he deals on a daily basis. AGENCIES