Gayle backs Pietersen to play for England

London, June 10 (IANS) West Indies star cricketer Chris Gayle has added his voice to the debate on controversial English batsman Kevin Pietersen, saying he should be representing England across all formats of the game.

Pietersen was sacked by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after last year’s Ashes whitewash defeat in Australia. The record-breaking batsman was hoping for a recall to the England side after apparent pre-season encouragement from new ECB chairman Colin Graves, reports CMC.

But even after his maiden triple-century for Surrey, he was informed within hours by ECB director of cricket Andrew Strauss that there is no imminent prospect of him playing for England this season.

“He should be playing for England, there are no two ways about it. They (ECB) must have their reasons but we would love to see your best player in action, out in the middle, entertaining. It doesn’t matter what format – Test, 50-over, Twenty20 – he’s a class player,” said Gayle.

Strauss has confirmed that Pietersen is “not part of our plans” for the Ashes summer citing a “massive trust issue” between himself and the 34-year-old cricketer. Pietersen will play for St. Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) due to start later this month.

“One of the best players England has ever produced. But it’s your loss. KP is looking forward to CPL. England don’t want him? We will take him. He will entertain the fans. We will make some sales off him, sell some tickets. It should be fantastic. The CPL is going to be one big party,” said Gayle.

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