Morgan closes door on Pietersen return for World Cup

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Sydney, Jan 15: Eoin Morgan said unwanted Kevin Pietersen was not part of his plans as England's one-day captain on Thursday and was happy with his group of players ahead of next month's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

World Cup schedule

Morgan, who took over the England captaincy from Alastair Cook last month, moved to end speculation surrounding the future of the maverick batsman, sacked by England last February.

File photo of Eoin Morgan

Pietersen renewed speculation during a television interview this week with former Australia captain Ricky Ponting during a Big Bash League match when he claimed Morgan wanted to have him back in England's 50-over team.

While the pair are friends, Morgan put paid to outside hopes Pietersen may have had of returning to England's World Cup squad as an injury replacement.

England take on Australia in the opening match of the tri-series in Sydney on Friday in a tournament also involving India and Morgan laid his cards out on the table.

"I think this is a good opportunity to clear things up given that Kevin has a lot of opportunity to talk in the media and get his point of view out there," Morgan told travelling English reporters.

"I'm very happy with the group of players I have, I think this is the best group of players we have to drive the England team forward over the next two months in particular.

"Kevin's situation hasn't changed over the last year. It's been reiterated over months and days. "It was reiterated before Christmas by the chairman of selectors and I'm reiterating it again just to clear it up. Thank you."

AFP

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