Pietersen shocked by Bell omission


Kevin Pietersen has branded England's decision to drop Ian Bell for their upcoming tour to South Africa as "ridiculous" and "pathetic".

Bell was left out of the 16-man touring party announced on Thursday after a poor run of form with the bat that has seen only four half-centuries in his last 23 innings.

His failings continued in United Arab Emirates against Pakistan - where he averaged 31.60 - and as a result he has been left out, with Gary Ballance, Nick Compton and James Taylor selected ahead of him.

Pietersen - who has been critical of England's selections since his international career came to a controversial end in 2014 - feels Bell has been hard done by and says Alastair Cook's side will miss his experience against the world's number one ranked Test side. 

"I'm actually sitting here very, very annoyed," he said in a video posted on Twitter. "How can you take someone who's played over 100 Test matches, and you've got the biggest series of the year coming up against the number one side in the world, and you drop him, leave him out of the tour. 

"I mean it is absolutely ridiculous. 

"I understand how people say he has not 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. 

"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."

He added: "Captain Cook himself can go two years without a Test hundred yet he can play every single game, and as for Belly, he struggles a little bit, he scored a hundred 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 and people need to start having a look at themselves."