England delay naming squad

Selectors must debate opening batsmen and spinning options

Last Updated: 13/09/12 1:53pm

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Kevin Pietersen: November tour may come too soon for his return to the international fold

Kevin Pietersen: November tour may come too soon for his return to the international fold

Sky Bet

England will not now name their squad for the Test tour of India on Thursday, as discussions over Kevin Pietersen's future continue.

Team director Andy Flower had previously stated that he wanted the party to be finalised before flying to Sri Lanka for the ICC World Twenty20.

However, while selection discussions are at an advanced stage, the planned announcement has been delayed until at least Tuesday.

The extra time could open the door for a return for Pietersen - the 32-year-old could yet travel if private negotiations with the England and Wales Cricket Board bear fruit in the coming days.

Pietersen has admitted sending "provocative" messages to friends in the South Africa dressing room, but also harbours grievances of his own and as such was not offered a central contract for 2012/13.

He has not played for England since the second Test against South Africa at Headingley, missing the series decider against the Proteas at Lord's.

Sizeable void

If it is decided that a November return is too soon for Pietersen, the selectors will have to do decide how best to fill the sizeable void in their middle order.

Ravi Bopara's current lack of form could cost him dearly but Eoin Morgan, dropped from the Test side earlier this year after a lack of runs last winter, appears certain to make the squad after being awarded a full central contract.

James Taylor played the final two Tests against the Proteas while Jonny Bairstow made the most of his chance in the last match of that series, hitting 95 after being drafted in to replace Pietersen.

England are also going to be without former captain Andrew Strauss for the first time, meaning an opening partner must be found for new skipper Alastair Cook.

Yorkshire's Joe Root is the most obvious long-term bet, but at 21 may be given more time to develop.

With uncertainty over the credentials of Michael Carberry, 31, and Nick Compton, 29, England may ask Jonathan Trott to open and shift Ian Bell to number three.

Monty Panesar seems certain to be picked to provide a different spinning option to Graeme Swann and a third slow bowler is also likely to be taken for a trip to the subcontinent.

Samit Patel, Danny Briggs and James Tredwell are all strong options, though Patel's batting prowess could ultimately count in his favour.

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