Kevin Pietersen, former England captain, and middle-order batsman, believes the England selectors should drop Keaton Jennings and Stuart Broad for the tour of Sri Lanka later this year. Jennings struggled for form in the home series against India and has poor numbers in Test cricket after starting with a century on debut.
With Alastair Cook retiring from international cricket, England has been left with a massive conundrum with the opening combination. Jennings has just 486 runs from 12 Tests but also has the backing of Paul Farbrace, England’s assistant coach, who felt the left-hander has done enough to tour Sri Lanka. The England selectors will also be looking at Rory Burns as an option but that would leave them with two inexperienced openers fronting up in tough conditions.
“Jennings can’t bat, I’m sorry,” Pietersen told talkSPORT. “They are going to have to find somebody else. Cook is a big loss. I know he has been wishy-washy over the last couple of months but he finished on a fairy tale ending, which is brilliant for him but to replace that kind of guy at the top of the order, it is going to be difficult.
“I just don’t see county cricket producing Test cricketers at the moment. The issue is deep-rooted. All the best players in the world now are not playing county cricket. They are earning their cash in franchise cricket. Therefore, the standard of county cricket isn’t great, the standard of county batsmen is poor, and it is causing a massive issue in cabs on the rank for batting places.
“I’m not a massive fan of Vince, if I’m honest. He had his chances. I watched him play down under last year. He played nicely, but I just didn’t like the way he went about his business on a couple of occasions when the ball started to bounce. For the tour of South Africa next year, the ball will bounce.”
With Joe Root wanting to bat at No. 4, England tried Moeen Ali as their new No. 3 option. The left-hander played crucial knocks in the last two Tests against India but Pietersen felt the move can’t be a long-term fix. “I don’t think Moeen Ali is a number three. He wasn’t playing his natural game [against India], he is more free-flowing down the order,” he pointed out.
“I like Jason Roy. He has got oomph, he has got guts, he has got runs at the top of the order in Australia. He scored that brilliant 180 at the MCG. It is about how guys score their runs and what their personalities are like. I would be all for Roy at the top of the order with Rory Burns.”
The former England batsman stressed Broad doesn’t perform well in away tours and doesn’t enjoy touring subcontinent countries. In the last decade, Broad has 20 wickets from 10 Tests in the subcontinent at an average of 48.10.
“I would have dropped him last winter,” Pietersen stressed. “He doesn’t perform that well away from home. He had one good Ashes series and what he delivered for England in the big Ashes series last year was hopeless. I’ve been on tours of the sub-continent, he doesn’t like touring the sub-continent so it wouldn’t surprise me and it would be a very good move if they dropped him.”
England first challenge after the series win over India will be a tour of Sri Lanka in October. They then travel to West Indies in January for a full series ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
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