Pietersen out of final Test
Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out of the final Test against New Zealand with a knee injury that could sideline him for up to eight weeks.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has revealed Pietersen had suffered "possible cartilage damage" to his right knee after complaining of the problem since the warm-up match to the Test series in Queenstown.
Pietersen is set to return home for further tests and is also set to miss the Indian Premier League, which begins on April 3.
"England and Surrey batsman Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out of the remaining Test against New Zealand commencing Friday March 22 due to an injury to his right knee," a statement from the ECB read.
"Pietersen experienced knee pain while fielding in preparation for the four-day game in Queenstown earlier this month, ahead of the Test series. This has failed to resolve satisfactorily.
"Recent scans confirm an injury to the right knee with bone bruising and possible cartilage damage to the kneecap.
"The 32-year-old will return to the UK for further investigations and specialist review.
"The injury is likely to require ongoing assessments and a likely six-eight week period of rest and rehabilitation.
"Pietersen has therefore been withdrawn from all cricket including the Indian Premier League."
Pietersen had been due to meet up with the Delhi Daredevils after the tour of New Zealand for the lucrative IPL season.
His absence will be a blow to the tournament's organisers as he instead prepares himself for a hectic English summer that will include New Zealand's return tour and the Champions Trophy before the first of back-to-back Ashes series.
Pietersen is the second England player to fly out early from the New Zealand tour after an elbow injury forced spinner Graeme Swann home.
Swann also aggravated his long-standing problem during the match at Queenstown and underwent successful surgery in the United States last week.
Swann is expected to return in time for the Champions Trophy in June.
England's immediate concern, however, will be replacing Pietersen for the series-deciding third and final Test against the Black Caps, which starts in Auckland on Friday.
Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow appears the most likely candidate to fill the void and play his first Test since helping England square their series against India in Mumbai last November.