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Monday, 5 January 2015

Kevin Pietersen's England exile baffles Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff is at a loss for words as to why England will refuse batsman Kevin Pietersen a place in their World Cup squad.

Pietersen (54) hit his second half-century of the tournament as his team tied the match, chasing Sydney Sixers' 150 for six at the MCG. Then James Faulkner sealed the deal with two sixes off Brett Lee as the Stars racked up 19 to overwhelm their visitors in overtime. Their second victory keeps them in the reckoning for a semi-final spot thanks in part to Pietersen, who hit eight fours and a six in his 37-ball 50 - after former England batsman Michael Lumb had made 80 in vain for the Sixers. The Pietersen show left an admiring Flintoff gasping for superlatives in the commentary box, and pondering the circumstances which have left the South Africa-born batsman out in the cold for England. Flintoff told Sky Sports 1 viewers: "There will be people around the world today watching and thinking 'He doesn't even play for England - why oh why?'" Pietersen lost his way a little once reaching his 50 with a boundary, and was eventually caught-behind off a mis-pull at Doug Bollinger - after which Flintoff said: "He played well. But you've got to say he did half of his job here." The Stars appeared to have passed up their opportunity, until late hitting from Tom Triffitt and Faulkner tied the scores. England's selectors and management have already made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that, after 34-year-old Pietersen's controversial sacking 11 months ago, he will never again figure in their plans. They have already picked their 15 for the World Cup, which will get under way when they face Australia in Melbourne on February 14, and that list will be re-confirmed on Wednesday when all 14 competing nations are scheduled to announce their final squads. (PA Sport)

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