Watson laments KP absence

  • Last Updated: March 18 2014, 9:51 GMT

Australia's Shane Watson believes the World Twenty20 is a poorer event without Kevin Pietersen and has urged England to rethink their decision to axe him.

Kevin Pietersen: Axed by England
Kevin Pietersen: Axed by England

Watson is a firm fan of Pietersen's and was surprised to see his international career prematurely ended following England's Ashes humiliation this winter.

Pietersen finished that series as the tourists' highest run scorer but was told he had no future by the England and Wales Cricket Board, who did not directly address rumours regarding the 33-year-old's conduct but did talk of "rebuilding the team ethic".

Watson, though, is sad to see his old foe off the world stage.

"I think it's a shame Kevin Pietersen is not playing international cricket anymore," he said.

"He's always been one of my favourite players to watch. I love seeing him bat, the way he takes on the game.

"He's a world class player, so for me it's sad that I won't see him again in international cricket and England will certainly miss his cricket ability.

"The tournament loses a bit for his absence, and he wasn't at the last one in Sri Lanka either. That he's missing from a tournament makes it poorer for that."

A return to England colours seems highly unlikely for Pietersen, with events such as a recent Twitter spat with Matt Prior suggesting that the situation is irretrievable, but Watson thinks the arrival of a new head coach this summer offers some hope.

"Maybe things will change when there's a new man in charge," said Watson.

"My experience of Kevin is that he's a good guy, so it's about making sure everyone moves in the same direction.

"Fingers crossed he does come back - I don't particularly like to play against him when he's in form - but he's one of the great players, no doubt.

"There's a fair bit going on in the England camp and there has been for a while but they need to have someone who is a strong leader to point the ship in the right direction and get everyone pulling for the same goal, like Darren Lehmann did for us.

"For England's sake I hope it works out."

Meanwhile, Pietersen has been appointed captain of the Delhi Daredevils for the upcoming Indian Premier League season.

The 34-year-old will lead the Daredevils out for the seventh edition of the IPL with wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik confirmed as his deputy.

The IPL franchise announced the news on their official Twitter feed, stating: "DelhiDaredevils name @KP24 as Captain and @DineshKarthik as his deputy for @PepsiIPL2014."

England's record run scorer is free for a full IPL season for the first time after his adopted country controversially severed all ties with him and effectively ended his international career last month.

The Surrey man is in his third season with the Daredevils but was out injured last year after previously representing Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers in the 20-over tournament.

Pietersen cost Gary Kirsten's men £880,000 at the IPL auction on February 12.

New Sky Bet customers: Free matched bet up to £30