England have named uncapped Hampshire all-rounder Liam Dawson in their 15-man squad for the World Twenty20 to be staged in India next month, but there was no dramatic recall for Kevin Pietersen.
Dawson, who turns 26 next month, has performed well with the England Lions side that recently played Pakistan A in the UAE.
“He bats, bowls and fields, so is an all-round package,” England coach Trevor Bayliss told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s exciting to see a youngster get his opportunity. We will have to wait and see if he plays in India.
“He can be a back-up to our two main spinners (Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali) and if the wicket is really turning we may decide to play all three at some stage.”
Pietersen’s form in recent domestic Twenty20 tournaments in South Africa and Australia had led to calls for his return to the side, but Bayliss confirmed the batsman was never discussed by the selectors.
Even still, Pietersen took to Twitter to satirically play down his absence in the squad.
I told the ECB I needed a break in March. Big Bash, PSL, a break in March then IPL. They understood! 😘 http://t.co/i9aiwo9UwO
— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) February 10, 2016
Fast bowler Steven Finn has been selected despite sitting out the limited overs portion of the South Africa tour with a side-strain, which left no place for the world’s top-ranked test bowler, Stuart Broad.
“He’s coming along very well, the medical people said before he left South Africa that he would likely be available for the last T20 match here but we felt we shouldn’t risk it and make sure he is right for the World T20,” Bayliss said of Finn.
England also strengthened their team management with the return of former Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene for the first 10 days of the tournament and the inclusion of ex-England Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood for the duration of the event.
England open their campaign against West Indies on Mar. 16 and will also play South Africa, Sri Lanka and a first round qualifier from Group B that includes Scotland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.
Bayliss believes the side can repeat their 2010 success when they won the tournament under Colingwood in West Indies.
“There is no reason why we can’t (win it). You start off in a positive manner and anything can happen. The games come around very quickly and one or two good performances in a match can swing it your way.”
England squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Liam Dawson, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, James Vince, David Willey.