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Flamboyant West Indies opener Chris Gayle believes that England are making a grave mistake by refusing to pick batsman Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen was sacked by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after the national team was whitewashed 5-0 by Australia in the last Ashes series in 2013-14.
Pietersen opted out of his Indian Premier League (IPL) contract and signed with Surrey earlier this year after incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves allegedly told him that his international career could be resurrected if he scored runs at the county level.
But, even after Pietersen scored a career-best 355 not out against Leicestershire on May 10, Andrew Strauss, the ECB’s director of cricket, told him that there was no chance he would be making his international comeback.
“He should be playing for England, there are no two ways about it,” Gayle said. “They (ECB) must have their reasons but we would love to see your best player in action, out in the middle, entertaining. It doesn’t matter what format – Test, 50-over, Twenty20 – he’s a class player. One of the best players England has ever produced. But it’s your loss.”
With Pietersen’s chances of playing for England again all but over, the 34-year-old has decided to represent the St Lucia Zouks in this year’s edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
“KP is looking forward to CPL,” Gayle said. “England don’t want him? We will take him. He will entertain the fans. We will make some sales off him, sell some tickets. It should be fantastic. The CPL is going to be one big party.”