Sportsdesk Comment with Daniel Gregory: Dropping KP would be madness

Send your England team for the Sri Lanka Test at Lord's to daniel.gregory@jpress.co.uk or Tweet @mrdanielgregory
Send your England team for the Sri Lanka Test at Lord's to daniel.gregory@jpress.co.uk or Tweet @mrdanielgregory
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Despite the constant headlines that have plagued Kevin Pietersen’s rollercoaster career in an England shirt, I was still stunned to see the nationals honing in on KP in the aftermath of our hammering.

Most countries who had just suffered a 5-0 pasting would be looking to build a side around their best players and the most promising young players from the county game.

File photo dated 27/12/2013 of England's Kevin Pietersen. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 7, 2014. The Kevin Pietersen factor is top of the list of any number of variables which may yet complicate England's 'new era'. See PA story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

File photo dated 27/12/2013 of England's Kevin Pietersen. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 7, 2014. The Kevin Pietersen factor is top of the list of any number of variables which may yet complicate England's 'new era'. See PA story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

It seems we do things a little differently in England.

Most countries would be thankful to have a player of KP’s ilk available to them.

Yes, he can be a very frustrating player and his shot selection is poor at times.

But that poor shot selection is what stops him from being an all-time England great, not from being our best batsman at present.

The stats say it all for me.

Pietersen, for all his quirks and failings, averages 47.28 from his 104 Tests, hitting 23 centuries and 35 half-centuries in the process.

And during what was a horrible series to watch, Pietersen also topped the England runs chart with 294 runs.

Again, the stats don’t make pleasant reading - the series was a total car crash.

The top six batsmen in the run charts are Australian.

Pietersen follows the Aussies, with another player whose place is being called into question, Michael Carberry.

If this is an age thing, call it ‘a changing of the guard’, then I fear for the short-term future of the English game.

People can often be too keen to look into the distant future rather than worry about the present, and we certainly need to worry about the present.

We’re at one of the lowest points in recent memory and we need to bounce back and regain some confidence against Sri Lanka and India in the summer.

What good would dropping KP and Carberry do?

Perhaps in the long term, blooding the likes of Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, James Taylor & Co will benefit us.

But we need to look after the present and the likes of Pietersen and Carberry need to be given the Sri Lanka and India tours to prove they still have it, and of course still have a few years in them yet.

That doesn’t concern me with Carberry. He is a superb athlete and his dropped catch in the Second Test aside, is one of the best fielders around.

Look at Chris Rogers too. He must have thought his chances of playing for Australia were done and dusted until he was called up for the Ashes in England last year.

He hit two centuries and was an integral part of the Aussies’ top order.

It just highlights that players are fitter for longer with the advances in sport science and shouldn’t be discredited as they’re the wrong side of 30.

I managed to get into a lengthy debate about where to go from here on Twitter the other day.

It’s always interesting to see what different people would do to solve this crisis and what teams they would pick going forward.

I tweeted the side I would consider picking for Sri Lanka, and there was a healthy debate with different names being thrown into the mix.

After I’d put this side on Twitter I wondered if Trott would return from his absence, and whether I’d pick Root or Gary Ballance so I made a couple of changes.

There’s also a debate on whether Stokes is ready to be our third seamer as well.

My team: Cook, Carberry, Bell, KP, Ballance, Stokes, Prior, Broad, Briggs, Anderson, Finn.

Send me your team to face Sri Lanka at Lord’s on June 12. Email daniel.gregory@jpress.co.uk or Tweet me @mrdanielgregory