Dropping Ian Bell is ridiculous - Kevin Pietersen
After averaging just 34.76 and 25.94 in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Bell was sidelined for the South Africa Tests due to his poor run of form.
An annoyed Pietersen lashed out at the move, especially considering that it comes ahead of the series against the top ranked Test team.
Ian Bell's response after missing out on South African tour
"I'm absolutely gutted not to be selected for the tour to SA.
"I certainly feel I could have contributed out there & have been working tirelessly to get into the best possible condition for the tour.
"I'm going2enjoy a winter break with my family for the 1st time in 11yrs and come back determined to win my place back.
"Wishing all the guys selected the best of luck."
"How can you take somebody who’s played over 100 Test matches and you’ve got the biggest Test series of the year coming up against the No.1 side in the world and you can drop him, leave him out of the tour?
"I mean, it’s absolutely ridiculous.
"I understand how people can say 'yep, he might not have scored runs for a while', but you’re going to play South Africa in South Africa against one of the best bowling attacks that’s bowled over the last few years.”
In the four Tests that Bell has played in South Africa, he averages 44.71, including one fifty and a century from seven innings.
Overall, Bell has so far played 118 Test matches and has 7,727 runs, coming at an average of 42.69 along with 22 hundreds and 46 fifties.
Pietersen further expressed that Bell’s extensive experience was necessary when England take on South Africa in their backyard.
"You have to take him for his experience.
“You just have to take him.
“You cannot drop him before this.
"If he doesn’t score runs after South Africa then maybe, I can sort of understand it.
“But I just do not get the thinking behind this."
In 2015, England captain Alastair Cook came out of a slump extending back to nearly two years, and turned a new leaf to become the highest run scorer in Tests this year.
Citing Cook’s example, Pietersen failed to understand why the England selectors did not persist with Bell in the same manner.
"Captain Cook himself, he can go two years without a Test hundred yet he can play every single game.
"And as for Belly, Belly struggles a bit, he got a hundred what, nine or 10 Test matches ago, but he’s not good enough to get to the South African tour.
"I think it’s pathetic, and I think he’s been hard done by here and people need to start having a look at themselves."
England have called up Yorkshire batsman, Gary Ballance to take the place of Ian Bell for the four-match Test series against South Africa which begins on 26th December.
© Cricket World 2015