Pietersen, England’s leading all-time run-scorer across all formats, has been told by new director of cricket Andrew Strauss that he was “not part of our plans for the summer”, despite smashing a triple century for Surrey this week.
Strauss cited a “massive trust issue” between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the controversial batsman, 34.
Australian players are bemused by the saga, while relishing the ongoing drama distracting their arch-enemy ahead of the Ashes, beginning in July.
“I know that Strauss and him probably don’t get on, (but) I’m not going to believe it until we get over there and they pick their squad,” paceman Ryan Harris told Cricket Australia’s website Thursday.
“If he keeps going on and playing for Surrey, he may quit now, but if he keeps going and scoring hundred after hundred there’s going to be a lot of pressure to pick him.”
Harris said he would be very happy if he does not come face-to-face with the South African-born batsman.
“Of course, absolutely. He’s a bloody good player and one of the hardest to bowl to, I find,” he said. “In saying that, when you play sides like England you want the best players playing — especially when we beat them, you want to beat the best team.”
Harris’s fellow quick Peter Siddle, who has dismissed Pietersen more times (10) than any other bowler in Test cricket, was also rejoicing at his absence from the coming series.
“You can’t find someone to replace him,” Siddle told reporters in England, where he is playing for county side Lancashire.
“I think those players are once in a lifetime, with their confidence and aggression. A bloke that averages 50 in Test cricket I’m happy enough to have out of the side.