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Opinion

Pietersen: ‘Jennings can’t bat & I would have dropped Broad last winter’

by Wisden Staff 6 minute read

Kevin Pietersen believes England should drop opener Keaton Jennings and veteran fast bowler Stuart Broad for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka.

Jennings’ output has dropped off considerably following a century on Test debut – he has just 486 runs from 12 Tests – while the retirement of fellow opener Alastair Cook means England are facing a major headache at the top of the order.

Keaton Jennings endured a tough series

The prolific Rory Burns, who helped Surrey to their first County Championship title since 2002 on Thursday, is expected to replace Cook, but whether the England selectors are open to travelling to Sri Lanka with two inexperienced Test openers remains to be seen.

Jennings, who has the backing of England’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace, could be given one final chance in the sub-continent, which would not please Pietersen.

“Jennings can’t bat, I’m sorry,” the former England batsman and captain told talkSPORT. “They are going to have to find somebody else. Cook is a big loss. I know he has been wishy-washy over the last couple of months but he finished on a fairy-tale ending, which is brilliant for him but to replace that kind of guy at the top of the order, it is going to be difficult.

Kevin Pietersen celebrating a century in the 2005 Ashes series

“I just don’t see county cricket producing Test cricketers at the moment. The issue is deep-rooted. All the best players in the world now are not playing county cricket. They are earning their cash in franchise cricket. Therefore, the standard of county cricket isn’t great, the standard of county batsmen is poor, and it is causing a massive issue in cabs on the rank for batting places.

“I’m not a massive fan of Vince, if I’m honest. He had his chances. I watched him play down under last year. He played nicely, but I just didn’t like the way he went about his business on a couple of occasions when the ball started to bounce. For the tour of South Africa next year, the ball will bounce.”

Surrey’s Rory Burns is likely to open the batting for England in Sri Lanka

Captain Joe Root, who had reluctantly shifted up to No.3, moved back to his preferred No.4 spot for the last two games of the series, allowing the reinstated Moeen Ali a chance to proof his worth in the top-order.

“I don’t think Moeen Ali is a No.3. He wasn’t playing his natural game [against India], he is more free-flowing down the order,” the former middle order batsman added.

“I like Jason Roy. He has got oomph, he has got guts, he has got runs at the top of the order in Australia. He scored that brilliant 180 at the MCG. It is about how guys score their runs and what their personalities are like. I would be all for Roy at the top of the order with Rory Burns.”

Stuart Broad has struggled to replicate his home form in the sub-continent

The former England captain believes Broad, who has 20 scalps from 10 Tests in the subcontinent at an average of 48, has not proven his worth on recent away tours, especially in Asia.

“I would have dropped him last winter,” Pietersen opined. “He doesn’t perform that well away from home. He had one good Ashes series and what he delivered for England in the big Ashes series last year was hopeless. I’ve been on tours of the sub-continent, he doesn’t like touring the sub-continent so it wouldn’t surprise me and it would be a very good move if they dropped him.”

England will begin their tour of Sri Lanka in October before a full series against West Indies in January ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

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