KP in England T20 squad
Kevin Pietersen was labelled a "million pound asset" by England limited overs coach Ashley Giles after he gave the clearest indication yet the controversial batsman could still have an international future.
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Pietersen was on Wednesday selected in England's provisional 30-man squad for the World Twenty20, which begins in Bangladesh in March.
While England must still trim that list in half early next month, meaning Pietersen could yet be overlooked, Giles revealed there had been no thought of omitting the right-hander from the provisional squad.
"No. There was no discussion about leaving Kevin out," he said.
"He's another million pound asset at least, he might be worth a bit more than that.
"He's a fantastic player and he's shown that in T20 cricket.
"Kev has been a fantastic player for England for many years."
Giles' comments were the type of ringing endorsement that Pietersen has so far failed to attract from team director Andy Flower, or captain Alastair Cook, in the wake of the 5-0 Ashes whitewash.
Pietersen's England future was thrown into doubt immediately after the fifth Test in Sydney, when reports emerged Flower was ready to jettison the 33-year-old as he plots a new era.
Flower dismissed suggestions he had issued a 'him or me' ultimatum to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as "totally inaccurate", although he did not use his statement to reassure Pietersen over his place.
Cook likewise refused to speak on the matter last week, confirming only that any major decision-making would occur after he had returned from England to sit in an Ashes review.
Cook is due to leave Australia after the ODI series finishes on January 26, with Flower having already returned home.
New ECB managing director Paul Downton, who does not officially start his role until February 1, is in Australia with the team.
Another potential key date is the final confirmation of England's Twenty20 squad, when it will be known if Pietersen makes the final cut.
Giles indicated on Wednesday that 15-man list would be confirmed the day after England return from their Australia tour.
The final match Down Under is the third Twenty20 in Sydney on February 2.
Pietersen reaffirmed his "strong desire" to remain an England player amid the initial Ashes fall-out, although he has been unable to press his claims for the World Twenty20 after sitting out a scheduled rest for the limited overs leg of Australia.
In his absence England notched their first win in two months on tour, thrashing a Prime Minister's XI by 172 runs in Canberra, but success against Australia remains on the to-do list after losing the first ODI in Melbourne by six wickets.
Giles' side will aim to level the series in Brisbane on Friday night, and admitted victory in Canberra - in front of Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott - was a welcome relief.
"It's always good to win," he said.
"I said to the guys after the game, whatever the circumstances enjoy your wins - wins are significant for your confidence."
One of the few disappointments from the Canberra match was another failure for Cook, who succumbed in the opening over for the second successive game.
Giles believes the 29-year-old - whose past four scores on tour are 1, 4, 7, 7 - is lacking only luck to turn matters around, though.
"I've been with Cooky this last period and he's been fantastic," he said. "He continues to work really hard.
"Things can turn very quickly. We can look through as much footage or technical stuff or behavioural stuff as we like. Sometimes it's just getting a start and, of course, we are all hoping that happens on Friday."
Cook has been a part of a faltering top order, with Joe Root enduring his own barren period, and Michael Carberry could come into the team for Brisbane after hitting a fluent 47 against the PM's XI.
"Carbs is naturally a more attacking batsman at the top of the order," Giles said.
"We know it is important to be positive against this Australian attack and team - they're full of confidence."
Giles ruled out the possibility of Jos Buttler moving up the order from his 'finisher' role as England put winning the series ahead of any potential experimentation for next's year's World Cup.
"We are hoping to try some different options but not too drastic," he said.
"Jos' great strength is down the back end finishing games and he's a really cool customer.
"Experimentation is an option, but winning is really important.
"This is going to be a tough series, we're 1-0 down and our focus has to be on trying to win this series."
England's provisional 30-man World Twenty20 squad: Stuart Broad (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Ravi Bopara, Scott Borthwick, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler (wkt), Michael Carberry, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Craig Kieswetter (wkt), Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions, Steven Parry, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, James Tredwell, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Luke Wright.