Test debuts blighted by Pietersen speculation

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Kevin Pietersen is not “on the radar” for a Test recall, according to England coach Peter Moores who fears continued speculation could overshadow the Test debut of Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth among others.

Moores insisted, yesterday, that England must focus on the three-Test battle in the West Indies.

England cricket’s new chairman Colin Graves has refused to rule out a Test return for Pietersen, who has been frozen out of the national set-up for more than a year.

Coach Moores refused to consider the South Africa-born batsman’s credentials ahead of the West Indies tour however, despite Pietersen signing a new deal with Surrey in order to prove himself as a run-scorer at county level once more. Moores said: “For me Kevin’s not on this trip, so I don’t need to focus on Kevin at all. My focus is to support Alastair (Cook) as I always would and the 16 players on this tour. At the end of that summer (last year) we’d gone through a tough summer, and started to play the sort of attacking cricket people like, and we like.

“That’s our focus at the moment. From my point of view Kevin isn’t on the radar. So he can’t be in my or Cooky’s focus at all.”

England boss Moores revealed “frustration” that the speculation around Pietersen could continue to dominate the agenda, overshadowing debut Test calls for the likes of Lyth.

Moores said he would leave any long-term decisions on Pietersen’s future to England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Graves – a stance backed by skipper Alastair Cook.

“That’s not my decision: I’ve got enough decisions to make,” said Moores, on Pietersen’s future. “It’s not about me getting personal, it’s about the focus on the England team. The frustration for me is that people whose dreams are being made by going on this tour aren’t being mentioned.

“They are not getting any air time and it’s frustrating. We’ve got some very, very good players. That’s very exciting. I understand Kevin’s a huge subject, but I don’t think we can be drawn into that.

“We’ve got to be completely focused on what’s ahead of us.”

England captain Cook reiterated Moores’ position on Pietersen, attempting to shift the focus onto Yorkshire star Lyth’s call-up: “I was with Adam (Lyth) when he got his phone call in Dubai, and it was such a refreshing thing to see.

“He was in tears talking to his mum, a gritty Yorkshireman.

“To be standing in the airport in his England suit for the first time, he’ll remember this forever.”

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