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Kevin Pietersen: ECB’s rotation plan for the Ashes is disgraceful


Lovely to be going well in the Road Safety series

We’re having a really good time in India representing England in the Road Safety World Series.

On the field, it’s certainly going a hell of a lot better than we expected. We managed to beat Bangladesh in our first match, and then beat India in a fantastic match on Tuesday.

There was a lot of quarantining to do coming from England, but it was amazing how once we were out on the practise field the competitive juices started flowing. Your professionalism clicks into gear again.

There are no consequences – we’re playing for a cause rather than our careers – but it’s still been really nice to score some runs. I love batting here in India and coming up against some old opponents in the form of Yuvraj Singh and others has been good fun.

We really wanted to beat India! It came down to that final over, when they needed 19 to win, and it would have been horrible to lose. We got pretty animated when we got ourselves over the line.

It’s been great to be reacquainted with some old team-mates, though, and I’m excited that there’s plenty more to come.

Talk of rotation during the Ashes is crazy

I just cannot understand what’s going on with England’s selection policy at the moment.

The coach, Chris Silverwood, came out this week to defend the rest and rotation that contributed towards the series defeat in India.

He could have admitted that they got it wrong, that they will learn from their mistakes, and I would have accepted that. But to come out and say that what they were doing – sending key players home mid-series – was right is a disgrace.

What’s even more disgraceful, though, is Silverwood looking nine months ahead to a huge Ashes series and saying that that they will look at rotating players during that as well.

I am lucky to be here in India playing in a tournament alongside a number of legends of the game, and none of them can understand what on earth the England management are talking about.

The Ashes series is the biggest Test series that is played, and players who don’t represent either of the countries would love the chance to play in it. You’re really saying, nine months out, that you’d be happy to rotate during that series?

Seeing Sam Curran and Jos Buttler put up in front of the press this week to justify the decisions being made for them has really got my back up. The people higher up at the ECB should be held accountable for this: Tom Harrison (ECB chief executive), Ashley Giles (director of cricket) and Ed Smith (chief national selector) should be answering questions on this policy.

I totally understand that, in these times, living in bubbles is difficult.

Players need rest, so the guys in the IPL should be allowed to earn as much money as they can in that and then miss the early-season Test matches against New Zealand.

I know from experience that when you finish your career, you are remembered for how you went against India and in the Ashes. They are the landmark series.

I mean absolutely no disrespect to the other Test-playing nations, but that is how it is. That’s the reality. You are not remembered for your efforts against New Zealand, Sri Lanka, West Indies or anybody else in early-season Tests.

There are opportunities for rest and rotation to happen, but to talk about not playing your best team in the Ashes is a shambles.

You would be short-changing every single England fan who pays money to attend the series and denying the players the opportunity to do something career-defining.

It is non-negotiable. The policy must be reconsidered over the next few months so that the best team is on the park for the most important series and events.

There should be plenty of runs in the T20 series

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It looks like we do have two sides at near enough full strength for the T20 series, so that should be good fun.

With a T20 World Cup on the horizon, it’s the perfect opportunity for both sides to get used to playing high-level T20 cricket in these conditions, with lots of the players then moving on to play in the IPL afterwards.

If the wickets are prepared in the same way as they have been over here for the Road Safety series then there are going to a lot of runs! These pitches have been flat.

With Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and all the other guys involved, it would be a surprise if this wasn’t a very high-scoring series.

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