Morgan: KP has England future
Eoin Morgan believes Kevin Pietersen still has an England future despite suggestions his international career could be coming to an end.
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Pietersen's time in an England shirt is in jeopardy following reports that team director Andy Flower is ready to move forward without him.
The working relationship between the pair is apparently an uneasy one and Flower - who has been backed to remain in his role by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) despite the 5-0 Ashes whitewash - would appear to hold the upper hand in any dispute.
Any resolution on the matter has at least been delayed by the fact that both Flower and Pietersen are not involved in the upcoming limited overs fixtures in Australia.
The next time Pietersen will be due to appear for England is in a limited overs series in the West Indies, which begins at the end of next month.
That tour will provide the final warm-up for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, when Morgan believes Pietersen must be included.
The 33-year-old was man of the series when England won the World Twenty20 title for the first time in 2010 and, while uncertainly lingers over his international future, Morgan is adamant he must be involved.
"I am a mate of Kevin. He is a player that every side in the world would want in their team," he said.
"There's no reason why I wouldn't want him at the Twenty20 World Cup.
"He played in the last one-day series and I captained the side and he was really good in the dressing room.
"He makes a positive contribution."
Morgan's comments are at odds with some suggestions in the media, although it remains that Pietersen is the star attraction of a batting order that faltered badly during the Ashes.
Pietersen was England's leading run scorer during the series - albeit at an average of 29 - but has most significantly been highlighted amongst a number of senior players who are apparently in danger of suffering the axe.
Flower has pledged to begin a "new era" after the Ashes debacle and pointedly suggested that England would have to endure more pain before reversing their fortunes from this winter.
Pietersen has twice taken to Twitter to voice his "strong desire" to remain an England player since the Ashes were lost.
Just how far Pietersen is prepared to back up that claim remains to be seen, with his commitments to the Indian Premier League (IPL) an obvious point of contention in which he could yet yield ground.
The right-hander is one of the most high-profile players at the tournament, although he was surprisingly not retained by his franchise the Delhi Daredevils on Friday.
The Daredevils opted not to keep hold of any player in their 2013 squad - including the likes of David Warner and Virender Sehwag - although they could opt to buy back up to three players under the IPL's new convoluted ruling that allows them to match any bid for one of their former players at next month's auction.
Even if the Daredevils opt not to take up that option it is likely that Pietersen would be snapped up by another franchise given his attraction both on, and off, the field.
In any case Pietersen has now at least been presented with the option of skipping the tournament, and its riches, to try to press his England claims.
That may appear a long shot, given Pietersen's previous commitment to the IPL, although he may now be able to broker a deal to return early from the tournament with any new franchise that signs him.
At present the contractual agreement between the players and the ECB is for those who appear at the IPL to return to England by May 13.
That would allow them seven days to prepare in home conditions for the one-day international series against Sri Lanka.
It has been suggested that any player who does compete in the IPL might, however, return earlier to play in the LV= County Championship - which begins on April 6.
James Anderson, Stuart Broad and rising star Ben Stokes are thought to be receptive to the idea of returning early to county cricket, while Jos Buttler is another with Test ambitions who could be snapped up in next month's IPL auction.
Pietersen is, however, both a bigger draw and a bigger advocate of the IPL than his colleagues.
He has spoken passionately about the sporting benefits and is immensely popular in India, making it highly unlikely he would miss it in favour of some early-season four-day outings with Surrey.