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Pietersen’s England hopes dashed by selector, captain

Australia v England - Fifth Test: Day 1

London: The prospects of an England recall for Kevin Pietersen look bleak after the maverick batsman was told he still doesn’t figure in the national team’s plans and comments in his explosive autobiography may have caused irreparable damage.

Pietersen, England’s all-time leading run-scorer in all formats, was ditched after last year’s Ashes tour to Australia because of his perceived negative influence in the dressing room.

The South African-born batsman was given hope of a potential return in recent comments by the incoming chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, but national selector James Whitaker appeared to rule out the chance of another Pietersen comeback.

“Over the last 12 months, we have been successfully rebuilding our test team,” Whitaker said at England’s squad announcement for the upcoming tour of West Indies. “And over the last few days, he wasn’t party to any discussion.

“He’s not part of our plans.”

England captain Alastair Cook didn’t give his former teammate much encouragement, either.

Pietersen gave a withering critique of a number of England’s players and coaching staff – past and present – in an autobiography released in October, and Cook said that hadn’t been forgotten.

“There’s been a hell of a lot of stuff happened, with his book and all that kind of stuff,” Cook told British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. “It’s a long way back from that.” Of Pietersen’s chances of England recall, Cook added: “It’s very unlikely.”

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