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England have avoided another potentially explosive stand-off with Kevin Pietersen because of his withdrawal from the Indian Premier League and are confident he will be fit when it most matters, in the back-to-back Ashes series against Australia this year.
The only good news from the announcement that Pietersen willmiss the final Test against New Zealand, starting tonight, is that hehas een sensible enough to pull outof a $2million (£1.3m) contract with Delhi Daredevils, so avoiding accusations he would put money before loyalty to England.
If Pietersen had returned home early then cashed in on the Indian Twenty20 league next month there would have been uproar and a repeat of the crisis last summer that almost ended his international career.
Pietersen, who first felt the injury to his right knee ahead of England’s warm-up game in Queenstown, could be out for up to eight weeks and miss thetwo-Test series at home to New Zealand but, by returning home for rest because of bone bruising and possible cartilage damage, he should be ready for the main business of this year, along with Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan.
That will be considereda decent outcome.
Sportsmail can reveal that Pietersen will not suffer any financial damage because his IPL earnings were insured against injury, as Stuart Broad s were when he was forced to pull out of the IPL through injury two years ago.
So the bulk of his $2million,barring tax and agent fees,will be heading his way. That means England and Pietersen get the best of allworlds as Andy Flower andAlastair Cook believe their best batsman will be fit and rested by the first Ashes Test in July while Pietersen does not have to flog himself around India for six weeks to get his huge salary.
It is worth remembering that England dismissed any suggestion Pietersen was in danger of missing any part of this series when Sportsmail suggested he might want to go home after the first Test. – Daily Mail