Shane Watson believes the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh is a poorer event without England star Kevin Pietersen and has urged the ECB to rethink their decision to axe him.
The big Australian opener is a fan of Pietersen’s and was surprised to see his international career prematurely ended following England’s Ashes humiliation over the summer.
Pietersen finished that series as the tourists’ highest run scorer but was told he had no future by the England and Wales Cricket Board, who did not directly address rumours regarding the 33-year-old’s conduct but did talk of “rebuilding the team ethic”.
Watson, though, is sad to see his old foe off the world stage.
“I think it’s a shame Kevin Pietersen is not playing international cricket anymore,” he said.
“He’s always been one of my favourite players to watch. I love seeing him bat, the way he takes on the game.
“He’s a world class player, so for me it’s sad that I won’t see him again in international cricket and England will certainly miss his cricket ability.
“The tournament loses a bit for his absence, and he wasn’t at the last one in Sri Lanka either. That he’s missing from a tournament makes it poorer for that.”
A return to England colours seems highly unlikely for Pietersen, with events such as a recent Twitter spat with Matt Prior suggesting that the situation is irretrievable, but Watson thinks the arrival of a new head coach this summer offers some hope.
“Maybe things will change when there’s a new man in charge,” said Watson.
“My experience of Kevin is that he’s a good guy, so it’s about making sure everyone moves in the same direction.”