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Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright show what England need in Big Bash performances

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England head to India in March looking to reclaim the World Twenty20 trophy they won in 2010, having failed to make it past the second round since.

They will get some much-needed practice in when they take on South Africa in the shorter forms of the game next month, but there are some key omissions from that squad, which is seen as the possible side to feature in the tournament.

The Australian Big Bash League came to its conclusion last week with four Englishmen reaching the semi-final stage with their respective teams in one of the most prized domestic titles in cricket, yet only two will take on the Proteas and are likely travel to India.

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Impressive bowling attack

Bowlers Adil Rashid and David Willey will be on the plane to South Africa once their BBL commitments end, with both impressing with some stellar performances Down Under.

Rashid’s Adelaide Strikers topped the table, losing just once in their eight matches, but could not reach the final, losing to Sydney Thunder in the last four.

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The English leg-spinner was runner-up in the top wicket taker standings, finishing the tournament with 16 and with a good economy rate of just 6.52 runs an over.

As for fast bowler Willey, his Perth Scorchers side were also knocked out in the penultimate round of the competition, but the Englishman played a key role in getting them there.

He managed to claim ten victims with the ball, but was also industrious with the bat, hitting seven boundaries in his short spells as a tail-ender.

Big Bash League Semi Final - Melbourne Stars v Perth Scorchers

Yet, it is his two compatriots that knocked the Scorchers out, who deserve a recall to the England team with the World Twenty20 competition fast approaching.

Return of the forgotten?

The Melbourne Stars’ English duo of Luke Wright and Kevin Pietersen were integral in helping their side reach the final, with both players capable of getting runs on the board quickly.

The pair occupy both of the Stars’ overseas spots and have been excellent for them, with opening batsman Wright notching up 250 runs in the group stage alone, including a century against the Renegades.

The Sussex star was the seventh highest run scorer in the competition, with the likes of team-mate Pietersen, Michael Hussey and Chris Lynn above him, yet has not played internationally since March 2014.

Time to heal old wounds

South Africa-born Pietersen is another who continues to show that he is amongst the best in the business but is constantly overlooked by his country.

Big Bash League Semi Final - Melbourne Stars v Perth Scorchers

KP has always been a power player, capable of coming in after a few wickets have fallen and get runs on the board quickly.

Four fifties in nine innings, including 74 against Thunder in the final, and a strike rate of over 159 only tells half of the story, as his experience not only at the crease, but also in the field make him an invaluable member to any team, especially one that is filled with those looking to make their mark on the biggest stages.

Although Pietersen has had his difficulties away from a cricket pitch with the England camp in the past, there is an entirely new set-up for the Three Lions now and he is one of the best around.

Should they go?

Rashid and Willey have shown that they are built for the shorter format and facing South Africa will only give them the platform to put their Big Bash experiences to good use in an England shirt.

Big Bash League - Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers

Wright and Pietersen are not in the Tour squad to face the Proteas, but will hope that their performances throughout the competition will give England head coach Trevor Bayliss something to think about.

The pair not only bring their experiences from playing in some of the biggest competitions in the world, but they have shown they are capable of getting the job done and holding their nerve when it counts.

If England are hoping to challenge for World Twenty20 success in a couple of months’ time, they will need the best and brightest that the country has to offer.

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Topics:
Kevin Pietersen
Cricket
England cricket
T20 World Cup

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