England batsman Kevin Pietersen has been forced to pull out of the New Zealand tour in between due to knee injury. The injury first surfaced in the practice match in Queenstown before the start of the first test. Although Pietersen took part in the first two tests, the problem remained there and he had to miss a fielding session in Dunedin test. Because of the problem, he was unable to perform well in the two tests. To be on the safe side and to remove the likely problem of cartilage, Pietersen will not be in the third and final test and will fly back to England further assessment and investigation and treatment.
The scans taken by the medical team have confirmed that Pietersen has damaged his right kneecap cartilage and has bruises in bone. The treatment and rehabilitation time required for getting fully fit is estimated to be 6 to 8 weeks. This means that he will also miss the sixth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) as well as the home series against New Zealand. The time when Pietersen has been withdrawn from the deciding test shows that England is desperate to have him fully fit before the Ashes and the champions trophy to be played in July and September respectively. In his absence, Jonny Bairstow is likely to play. Bairstow plays for Yorkshire and last appeared for the national team in tests in Mumbai against India. In the past also, he has been replacing Pietersen and has 5 tests on his resume.
England is now without its two key players as Graeme Swann has already undergone elbow surgery before the test series against New Zealand.