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Pietersen out of World Cup

Kevin Pietersen is set to fly home from the World Cup to undergo surgery on a hernia, after complaining of soreness following an eight-over spell during England’s six-run victory over South Africa in Chennai. He will miss the rest of the tournament and England have applied to the ICC’s Technical Committee for Eoin Morgan to be his replacement, a team spokesperson said.

“I fly home tonight. Out of the WC & IPL.. Absolutely devastated!!” Pietersen said on his Twitter page on Monday morning.

Pietersen could be out of action for around six weeks after surgery, which means he will struggle to be fit in time to take up his contract with Deccan Chargers in the IPL, but he is expected to return in time for the first Test of the home season against Sri Lanka, in Cardiff, on May 26. Pietersen’s injury was confirmed after the team returned from Australia last month and revealed to the media on Saturday, although the original intention had been to manage the problem through the rest of the World Cup.

“I’m obviously extremely disappointed to have picked up this hernia injury but I’ve been able to manage it so far throughout the World Cup and will continue to do so under the guidance of the England team’s medical staff,” Pietersen had said in a statement on Saturday. “It will no doubt impact my preparation but careful management should see me still play a significant role in the team’s campaign.” However, on a spinning wicket in Chennai, England had no option but to turn to Pietersen’s offbreaks in a bid to force their crucial victory over South Africa and the decision to send him home was made after the game.

Pietersen had picked up a groin strain during the one-day series in Australia but only missed one match. However, with only three days back at home between that tour and leaving for the World Cup there was little time for players to overcome any injury concerns.

“Following an MRI scan on return to the UK after the Australia ODI series, a diagnosis of a hernia was established. The nature of the injury is such that it can be managed for the duration of the World Cup,” Dr Nicholas Peirce, the ECB chief medical officer, had said. “As the symptoms have been getting worse a decision has now been made that the appropriate course of action is for Kevin to undergo a routine operation upon his return to the UK after England’s World Cup campaign.

“Kevin will continue to be managed through the World Cup and we would expect him to make a full recovery following a recuperation and rehabilitation period of approximately six weeks after the operation.”

Pietersen had taken on a new role at the World Cup, having been promoted to open the batting alongside Andrew Strauss. He had looked in good form during his first three innings with scores of 39, 31 and 59 before edging to slip for 2 in the first over of the match in Chennai. Pietersen spent time off the field during Ireland’s run-chase on Wednesday and looked hampered during the tense final stages of the South Africa victory.

In his absence, Ravi Bopara could be required to revert to the opener’s role alongside Strauss, despite impressing in the middle-order with a crucial 60 in Chennai.

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