Kevin Pietersen called for England players to be T20 mercenaries even as he criticised the team selection for the first two Tests against India starting February 5. Calling for England to play their best team against India, Pietersen said the best players “want to play as many games as possible against India” before “they go to IPL & earn everything they deserve.” When a fan pointed out that Pietersen was calling for England players to be T20 mercenaries, the former England captain had this to say: “Country first when you’re a kid. Not when you’re the best players. IPL a priority instead of early season Tests.”

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“Winning IN India is as good a feeling as winning in Aus. It’s disrespectful to ENG fans & also @BCCI to NOT play your best team,” Pietersen wrote in a tweet. “Bairstow has to play! Broad/Anderson have to play!” 

Jonny Bairstow was left out of the squad for the first two Tests even as he plays for England in the ongoing Test series in Sri Lanka. 

“The BEST England players will want to play as many games as possible against India, in India. PICK THEM!” wrote Pietersen in another tweet. 

“Then they go to IPL & earn everything they deserve. Cash is king for every sportsman. They’re a business! They can have a break after that!” 

Bairstow’s omission was criticised by another former England captain, Michael Vaughan, who had said “the world is officially mad” while lashing out at the England selectors. 

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England will tour India for four Tests, five T20Is and three ODIs from February to March 2021 and both teams have named their squads for the first two Tests. 

Veteran pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been included in the squad even as England try to rest and rotate players ahead of a home summer that sees them play five Tests against India.

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