London: England batsman Kevin Pietersen has been denied the chance of valuable match practice before next week's first Test against Pakistan after Hampshire refused a request to play him this weekend.
Pietersen hasn't played since injuring his thigh against Australia on July 3 and England's selectors were hoping he would be able to play for his English county in a 40-over match against Kent on Sunday.
But Hampshire don't want to pick the 30-year-old because he has already made it clear he will be leaving the team when his contract expires at the end of the season. Instead Pietersen will have to settle for one-to-one sessions with England batting coach Graham Gooch and net practice at the National Performance Centre at Loughborough ahead of the Trent Bridge meeting with Pakistan.
Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove felt it would be unfair on his other players to field Pietersen ahead of them and he told the Daily Telegraph: "The simple issue is that Kevin has already said he doesn't want to play for us any more and it is not really fair on the other guys.
"It was relatively straightforward. We discussed it with (England coach) Andy Flower and he was good about it. What is important for a club is to create a team ethic and have people who are committed to the club and playing for their country."
Once someone has said he doesn't want to play for you any more it is quite difficult to find a good reason to say 'in that case let's drop another player and play KP'. "For me that didn't seem fair and Andy felt that was a sound argument.
"He was an England player before he was a Hampshire player so he sees his whole team ethic and home being the England dressing room so it is difficult to build up that club loyalty."