England 'moving on' without KP
England coach Andy Flower is keen for his squad to put the loss of Kevin Pietersen behind them.
Last Updated: 07/03/11 6:11pm
England team director Andy Flower is keen for his squad to put the loss of Kevin Pietersen behind them as quickly as possible.
Pietersen is returning home to undergo a hernia operation and will miss the remainder of the World Cup.
He had forged a new one-day opening partnership with skipper Andrew Strauss after being promoted to the top of the batting order just before the start of the tournament.
"He's a world class player," Flower told Sky Sports News.
"I thought he was forming an interesting opening partnership with Andrew Strauss.
"In three of the four games they've played together they have looked good up front and they put on significant partnerships that have kicked off good batting performances."
Eoin Morgan has been confirmed as Pietersen's replacement after receiving clearance from the International Cricket Council.
He was included in the original World Cup squad but missed out after breaking a finger in the build-up to the tournament and Flower insisted that the ability to call on a player of Morgan's quality means the team can move forward.
"We're moving on now and Eoin Morgan is an exciting cricketer," he said. "It's going to be good to have him back."
Flower also confirmed that Pietersen had been struggling with the injury for some time, but remains hopeful that he will return in time for a busy summer.
"He couldn't move properly," said Flower. "He's struggling to move at the required efficiency you need for international cricket, so we've taken the decision to send him home.
"It's a problem that he has been dealing with for a number of weeks now so he has got to go and get that sorted out and hopefully he will be ready for the first Test gainst Sri Lanka in the English summer."
Reports immediately before England set off for the World Cup claimed Pietersen would be ready to forsake one-day international cricket at the end of the tournament in order to concentrate on Tests and Twenty20s.
But Pietersen himself swiftly and unequivocally denied those plans and Flower is delighted to take him at his word.
"I anticipate him playing a lot of one-day cricket for England," said the former Zimbabwe batsman.
"He's 30 years old. He should be in the prime of his batting form, or coming up to it.
"He enjoys playing for England. He's an incredibly talented bloke, and we want to see him playing all three forms for England for as long as possible.
"I hope he's hungry enough to do that."
The strong indications from Pietersen to Flower are that he certainly is.
"I don't see any reason why not," added Flower. "Last time I spoke to Kevin, he was very keen to carry on his ODI career with us.
"Let's look forward to that."
Pietersen's early departure means England face a hasty change of plan at the top of the order - with Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell and Matt Prior the three obvious candidates for promotion to bat alongside Strauss.
Flower and Strauss have three days to make that decision before they take on Bangladesh in Chittagong on Friday in their penultimate group fixture.