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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Anil Kumble to lead Pietersen

Anil Kumble will lead Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Champions League T20. The RCB have decided not to change their skipper even in the event of Kevin Pietersen's availability for the October 8-23 tournament.

On Tuesday, reports from England suggested that Pietersen will be facing a stand-off with England and Wales Cricket Board over his participation in the CL T20 but a couple of RCB officials told this paper that Pietersen's availability will not have any impact on the captaincy issue. Pietersen, one may recall, was the designated captain of the side.

"We don't know about Kevin but Anil will be our skipper," a top official of the RCB told DNA. Added another official, "We are not sure of the fitness of Kevin. It will be known in a couple of days. But his availability will not change our skipper." RCB are expected to announce the squad on Friday after speaking to team owner Vijay Mallya.
Kumble took over from Pietersen and then led RCB's incredible surge in the IPL II. The team ended up runners-up.

Meanwhile, there are conflicting signals from England over Pietersen's participation. The England batsman, having undergone surgery for Achilles heel four weeks back, should be fit for the tournament which is over 50 days away. One needs six weeks to two months to recover fitness from surgeries on heel and Pietersen would have rested for nearly three months by the time of Champions League.

Sources in England say Pietersen was keen to play in the Champions Trophy from September 22 but the ECB selectors have left him out of the one-day tournament. An ECB official told this paper that it is not known if Pietersen will be fit by October 8.

Meanwhile, the governing council of CL T20 came out with rules for the players qualified to play for two teams in the tournament.

"Under CL T20 rules, provided a player qualifies for more than one team, all those qualifying teams can nominate that player. If the player then decides to play for an 'away' team rather than his 'home' team (the team from the country he is eligible to represent in international cricket), the 'away' team must pay $200,000 compensation to the 'home' team. 'Away' teams are not eligible for compensation if a player chooses to play for his 'home' team," a release said.

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