England eased for T20 defence after KP stunner
ENGLAND have been eased to 7-1 by bet365 and Ladbrokes to defend their World Twenty20 crown this autumn after Thursday's shock news that ace batsman Kevin Pietersen has retired from all forms of international one-day cricket.
Pietersen, who has reached 25 in 19 of his last 25 shortest-format Three Lions innings and made 50 or more on six of these occasions, has stated that he would have wanted to be considered for September and October's tournament in Sri Lanka and all T20 cricket but accepts that is not possible within the bounds of his current annual English Cricket Board central contract.
KP has quit ODIs because of wear-and-tear to the body and the desire to see England pursue a settled 50-over batting unit in the build-up to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
He announced: "After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I am today announcing my retirement from international one-day cricket.
"With the intensity of the international schedule and the increasing demands on my body, approaching 32, I think it is the right time to step aside and let the next generation of players come through to gain experience for the ICC World Cup in 2015.
"I am immensely proud of my achievements in the one-day game, but still wish to be considered for selection for England in Test cricket.
"For the record, were the selection criteria not in place, I would have readily played for England in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20."
An ECB statement reads: "Pietersen, who discussed his position with the ECB during the recent Investec Test at Lord's, accepts that his current contract will continue to run through to September 2012 but that the contract will be downgraded to reflect the fact that he will only be selected for Test cricket for the remainder of his current contract.
"The terms of the central contract state that any player making himself unavailable for either of the one-day formats automatically rules himself out of consideration for both formats of the game as planning for both formats is closely linked.
"This is designed to reflect the importance of one-day international cricket which is a strategic priority as England look for improved performances in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup."
India are 5-1 favourites with BetVictor for success in Sri Lanka while the hosts, Australia and South Africa can all be backed at 6-1.
Pakistan and West Indies are 8-1 for World Twenty20 glory and New Zealand are 14-1. Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan are also in the tournament.
Australia are 7-2 favourites for the next World Cup while both current 50-over kings India and South Africa can be backed at 9-2.
England are 7-1 shots with last year's runners-up Sri Lanka at 15-2 and semi-finalists Pakistan, who triumphed last time the 50-over jamboree was held down under in 1992, are 8-1 with Ladbrokes.
Ladbrokes have cut Pietersen’s county side, to 7-2 for the CB40 and 6-1 for the Friends Life T20.
The West Indies are without fast bowler Kemar Roach for next week’s third Test at Edgbaston. Roach has been ruled out with a shin injury and replaced by off-spinner Sunil Narine.