sport

Bravo understands KP absence

Dwayne Bravo is disappointed but unsurprised by Kevin Pietersen's absence in West Indies' forthcoming series against England.

Record runscorer Pietersen was axed this month by the England and Wales Cricket Board from all future plans in the aftermath of this winter's Ashes whitewash in Australia, his international career therefore effectively over at the age of 33.

Windies captain Bravo is regretful rather than jubilant that there will be no Pietersen to test his young team in three one-day internationals in Antigua - the first on Friday - and then three Twenty20s in Barbados.

He sees it as a loss to world cricket, as well as England, but rationalises an understandable decision if Pietersen's employers no longer felt they could accommodate him in their team.

"I would have loved KP to be here," said Bravo.

"He's a player that the world loves to see play cricket.

"Despite his problems, personally I love to see him play - and it would have been good for us to actually play against him.

"It's good for international cricket to have someone of his calibre to continue playing.

"But that's his issue and England's issue. We don't have to worry about him."

Asked if he was taken aback by Pietersen's enforced retirement, Bravo said: "No, I'm not surprised.

"At the end of the day, no player is bigger than the game.

"Regardless of how good you are, there are (team) guidelines and there are rules.

"Whoever the player, you have to respect that.

"For me personally, I am a Kevin Pietersen fan - and I know the world is too."

West Indies are without their own headline act, destructive opener Chris Gayle nursing a hip injury and unavailable at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

"We are missing Chris Gayle, who is our best player. We are looking forward to his return," added all-rounder Bravo.

"But I'm happy with my squad of young, talented players - training hard and coming into our own. We're going to do well."

He acknowledges it will not be easy, however, even though England have been on a losing run and have arrived with a team of Twenty20 specialists without rested captain Alastair Cook and his regular ODI opening partner Ian Bell.

"I think the squad is very good.

"When I look at the players they have in the set-up, they are young and exciting and talented.

"We are not expecting an easy game.

"They have played Twenty20, and can play the longer form of the game as well. They are a very good team, well-drilled in a professional set-up.

"I've told our guys to continue and keep believing. We will play very hard and fair, and enjoy the contest.

"It gives us the chance to see where we're at."