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England’s T20 squad a sobering insight into Pietersen-less life

| 06.02.2014

The ECB moved on emotionlessly from the Kevin Pietersen saga, announcing an ODI squad to tour the West Indies and a 15-man ensemble tasked with winning the World T20 in Bangladesh.

Worcestershire’s batting all-rounder Moeen Ali and Lancashire tweaker Stephen Parry were the two new faces in the post-Pietersen squad, a list of players that only served to highlight the gaping hole the country’s leading batsman has left.

Ali’s inclusion is reward for a breakout season for the Pears last season, although that predominantly came in the County Championship, where he averaged close to 60. In a coloured shirt, he registered an average no higher than 29 in either form.

As the supposed next England batting cab off the rank, Ali’s appearance in the T20 squad shows there is not a natural successor waiting to replace Pietersen and there isn’t one already in the setup either.

Eoin Morgan is the natural limited overs successor, in terms of talent, but is reluctant to bat higher than five.

Considering Pietersen was often a match winner at the top of the order in T20s, Morgan’s refusal to budge from his preferred position – he’s never batted higher than four -denies him the ability to set the tone of an innings.

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are both potential candidates for the Pietersen role, but are both in the early stages of their international careers and cannot be relied upon at this stage, despite all their obvious talents.

As such the 10/1 on England winning the World Cup, which drifted from 8s after the KP news, is very generous, especially given the sub-continent location of the tournament and lack of English skill in negotiating those types of conditions.

With the ball, Parry, a one-day specialist, can be quite confident in securing a regular place as the team’s spinner, with James Tredwell, who was uninspiring in Australia recently, his only competition for the spot.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.