Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It Looks like the End for Thorpe

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It Looks like the End for Thorpe

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Clough

Kevin Pietersen yesterday ousted veteran Graham Thorpe in the England middle order ( and immediately set himself the fresh challenge of rewarding his adopted country with Ashes runs.

Chairman of selectors David Graveney, who also named Pietersen's Hampshire team-mate Chris Tremlett in a 12-man squad for the first Test against Australia at Lord's next week, has unequivocal confidence in the ability of the South Africa-born batsman.

Former Durham captain Graveney acknowledges he and his colleagues made a tough decision in leaving out Thorpe but reamins convinced Pietersen is the right man at the right time.

In choosing him, the selectors have gone for destructive potential over the tried-and-tested solidity offered by 35-year-old Thorpe who, nonetheless, has question marks hanging over him.

Thorpe, who has already announced he will retire from Test cricket at the end of this summer, faces a constant battle to stave off an ongoing back injury and is thought by some to be a fading force at the highest level.

Even so, Pietersen, 25, is in no doubt he will have a tough act to follow when he walks out at No 5 in front of a packed house at HQ next week.

"I have big shoes to fill," he said. "Graham Thorpe has been a great cricketer for England and could still be.

"I now have the opportunity to cement my place and reward the people for selecting me.

"I am delighted. I said I would be the happiest man in the UK, and when I got the call it was a special feeling. I am as delighted as you can get.

"It's huge, it's the Ashes, it's at Lord's. It's ridiculous to say I'm not going to be nervous, but I aim to relax, have fun and bring the best out in myself."

A welter of limited-overs internationals runs for England in his native South Africa last winter first put Pietersen in the spotlight. But his battling 74 in a losing cause in Tuesday's NatWest Challenge decider against Australia at The Oval clinched the deal. …

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