Devastated Pietersen adds to cricket World Cup injury woes

2011-03-07 09:22

New Delhi – Superstar batsman Kevin Pietersen became the latest victim of the injury-cursed cricket World Cup today, dealing a blow to England’s hopes as well as the lustre of the sport’s showpiece tournament.

Pietersen will head home to undergo a hernia operation that he had been hoping to postpone until after the competition.

But after looking troubled during yesterday’s six-run win over his native South Africa in Chennai, where he made just two off three balls, the 30-year-old will go under the knife immediately.

“I fly home tonight. Out of the WC & IPL (Indian Premier League). Absolutely devastated!!” Pietersen wrote on his Twitter account.

“Sad to leave India. Love the people & the hospitality!! Alvida doston (Goodbye friends).”

Pietersen is the 14th player to be replaced at the World Cup as the gruelling international schedule takes its toll.

He first complained of the problem after the 6-1 ODI defeat to Australia on the eve of the World Cup which immediately followed the Ashes triumph.

Pietersen, who in common with the majority of his English colleagues has been on the road virtually non-stop for over four months, played in all of England’s opening group games at the World Cup.

He made 39 against the Netherlands, 31 in the game against India, 59 during the embarrassing loss to Ireland before finishing with two in the narrow victory over South Africa.

Pietersen will also suffer a financial hiding as the injury rules him out of the IPL season where he was due to earn $650 000 (R4.5 million) playing for the Deccan Chargers.

England, which will ask for Eoin Morgan as a replacement, will now hope Pietersen is fit and rested ahead of a busy home season of international cricket with Sri Lanka and India due to visit.

The first Test against Sri Lanka starts in Cardiff on May 26.

England are second in Group B after Sunday’s win, just behind India who ended Ireland’s hopes of another upset with an efficient five-wicket victory in Bangalore.

Defeat to England sent South Africa, still searching for a first World Cup title, spinning from top spot to fourth place in the table after they failed to chase down a 172 target.

They were cruising at 63 without loss before a collapse once again raised questions over their brittle temperament.

“That’s not predictable at all, is it?” said skipper Graeme Smith sarcastically, when questioned about South Africa’s composure.

“Pressure? We’ve handled ourselves in some tough situations over the last few years, I don’t think pressure is our weakness.”

Meanwhile, Mike Hussey said he was delighted to be called up to Australia’s World Cup squad.

The 35-year-old batsman, who was originally sidelined by a hamstring injury which required surgery, has been summoned to replace paceman Doug Bollinger.

“Just going is a bit of a dream come true but to actually be there as part of a winning Australian team would be out of this world, so let’s hope,” Hussey said.

Monday’s action at the World Cup is distinctly low-key with Group A whipping boys Kenya and Canada playing for pride at New Delhi. 

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