Ashes 2015 Betting: 355 reasons why the KP debate won't go away

Another six...but there's still no way back for Kevin Pietersen
Another six...but there's still no way back for Kevin Pietersen

Andrew Strauss has marked his first day in charge of English cricket by making it clear there's no way back for Kevin Pietersen. Ralph Ellis fears it's a decision he will have to be reminded about all summer...

"Australia are 1.42/5 to win the Ashes series and the biggest danger they face is that they will have collapsed in so many giggles about the mess England have got themselves into that they won’t be able to bowl straight."

I was in the office last night as news was coming through of Kevin Pietersen's incredible triple century for Surrey. It was all everybody was talking about, and most said he had to come back into England's Test team now. Betfair traders made him a 2/1 chance to make the Ashes squad.

Somebody disagreed. "That's all very well, but who would you leave out?" he asked.

My answer was simple - based on the way England batted in the last Test in the West Indies, just about anybody.

Sadly it seems that KP's latest piece of extravagance will make no difference. Told to come back to County Cricket and score runs to earn his place in the side, he's done exactly that - only to be told even before an innings that ended up on 355 not out was completed that it won't make a blind bit of difference.

We all know what Andrew Strauss thinks of Kevin Pietersen as a bloke. It was picked up by a Sky microphone last year, a word that began with a "c", and it wasn't "charming". But for the former England captain to begin his first day in his new job as the ECB's new director of cricket by making it clear that KP has no place in this summer's Ashes side, is a dereliction of duty from the word go.

England face a hugely difficult summer. Australia are 1.42/5 to win the Ashes series and the biggest danger they face is that they will have collapsed in so many giggles about the mess England have got themselves into that they won't be able to bowl straight.

Strauss talked in his press conferences this morning about a breakdown in trust. "We decided it was in the best short-term interests for him not to be part of the team," he said. "There is a massive trust issue between me and Kevin. I wish it wasn't the case."

Well, that's fine. But the bigger issue for Strauss this summer will be who else in the England dressing room he CAN trust.

And I'm not talking about trusting anybody else to be a nice bloke, to get the drinks in, to say the right things in after match interviews, to do all the warm-up exercises, to listen to the team talks without saying something snide.

I'm talking about who you can trust to come up with a big score when the pressure is on. Who can you trust to build a partnership that will turn a Test match round? Who can you trust to stand up to Mitchell Johnson if he's having one of his good days?

With the possible exception of Jos Buttler, who was batting far too low down the order in the West Indies, the answer after the dismal second innings collapse in Barbados appears to be nobody.

If you've decided that Pietersen doesn't fit into that category because he's not the batsman he once was, then fine. Leave him out.

But don't drop him for any other reason. And don't tell him to prove he's worth his place in the side by scoring runs, and then when he gets Surrey's biggest individual total since 1899 turn round and find another reason not to pick him.

Strauss and Alastair Cook are keen to draw a line under the KP affair and make it go away. But it won't. If England aren't winning then Pietersen will be the elephant in the room all summer. And the room actually now contains 355 elephants.

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What do you think? Should KP come back into the squad? Or is Strauss right to focus on the future? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting @Betfair!

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