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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Kevin Pietersen blasts England for leaving out Cumbrian Ben Stokes

BEN Stokes is hoping to return to Second XI cricket today – after his Test omission was blasted by Kevin Pietersen.

Ben Stokes photo
Ben Stokes

The Cumbrian all-rounder is in line to play for Durham’s second string against Warwickshire after he was left out of the England squad to face Sri Lanka this week.

Stokes, who starred in last winter’s Ashes, was not included as England feel he needs more cricket after recovering from a broken wrist.

He took the unusual step of personally asking England selectors if he could play for his county’s second XI in their three-day championship game.

A one-day game, also against Warwickshire, was washed out yesterday but a three-day fixture against the same opponents starts at Coventry today.

But recently-axed England ace Pietersen reckons the 23-year-old from Cockermouth should be playing in Thursday’s First Test at Lord’s.

Pietersen said he could “not understand” why Stokes was not selected.

He said: “In Australia I saw a genuine star, somebody who walked into cricket’s toughest environment and who immediately did not feel intimidated by either the heat of an Ashes or the pace of Mitchell Johnson.

“He [Stokes] has a bright future for England and should be playing as much international cricket as possible.

“England are worried about his lack of cricket but he has played two championship matches for Durham, and he strikes me as one of those players who rises to the occasion.”

This week’s Test is England’s first since new coach Peter Moores replaced Andy Flower and the first squad named by national selector James Whitaker.

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