Cricket

Nixon admits there is no way back for Kevin Pietersen after so much bad blood.

Paul Nixon exclusive: 'Kevin Pietersen is history'

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Paul Nixon's England career may have been short, but the former wicket-keeper knows his way around the international set-up pretty well. 

One of the most respected men in cricket, 'Badger' starred in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and lifted no less than three T20 cups and two County Championships with Leicestershire.

And Nixon believes England are well-poised to enjoy a summer of success against Sri Lanka and Pakistan now that they have finally put speculation of Kevin Pietersen's return to bed.

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"KP is history"

"KP is history now with regards to England", he said.

"If they didn't pick him for the T20 World Cup, they won't pick him for anything else. Sadly KP in an England shirt is history."

KP was sacked two years ago following England's disastrous 5-0 whitewash in their Ashes tour of Australia. The South African-born batsman was labelled "disinterested and distracted" by then-director of cricket Paul Downton, but after hoping to win his place in the side back, he has now accepted defeat, even admitting he would be open to playing for his native country. 

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At times, the fallout from the saga seemed never-ending, and it has taken enormous perseverance from England to finally put it behind them.

"Sadly KP in an England shirt is history."

It is not just KP whose England career looks to be over, with Nixon also suggesting Ian Bell is unlikely to be recalled despite an impressive start to the county season with Warwickshire.

Australia v England - Fifth Test: Day 2

No way back for Bell

"Personally, I think Ian Bell has played his last game for England.

"He will have to score 3-4 100's as there are some very good young players coming through."

England's middle order is somewhat depleted after Bell was ousted due to a prolonged dip in form, and James Taylor has since been forced to retire because of a heart condition.

"Ian Bell has played his last game for England."

Bell has been linked with an unlikely return, but he would have to fight off competition from Gary Ballance, Jason Roy, James Vince, and there is even the possibility of both Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow featuring at the same time. 

Warwickshire v Yorkshire - Specsavers County Championship: Division One

Trevor Bayliss' men return to action on May 9 with a potentially tricky Test and ODI series against Sri Lanka, before welcoming Pakistan to Lords on July 14.

Huge summer ahead

England have not played Test cricket since January, when they toured South Africa, winning the series 2-1.

However, while Nixon is confident that England's home pitches will be too much for Sri Lanka, Pakistan could present a different threat altogether.

"England will beat Sri Lanka comfortably"

"I think England will beat Sri Lanka comfortably as our quicker seaming pitches with extra bounce will be our advantage. Sri Lankan pitches can be low and slow", he said.

"We should get some big scores and bowl them out twice, but Pakistan have some fantastic bowlers and great batsman and we will need to play our 'A game' to win."

Anderson not finished yet

That task will be made all the easier if James Anderson can stay fit, and his former team-mate believes any talk of the Lancashire seamer's retirement is premature.

4th Test, South Africa v England: Day 4

"Jimmy Anderson is a class act and whenever he bowls in England he is deadly.

"He may have lost a touch of pace but his swing and control will trouble all batsmen."

Anderson has been an England lynchpin for almost fifteen years. Nixon, on the other hand, made his international debut aged 36, making him an unlikely hero who would become synonymous with the audacious reverse sweep and a tendency to over-fidget behind the stumps.

As a Leicester man, who now runs his own academy in the city, he is familiar with unlikely heroes, and he hopes the county can take inspiration from their footballing counterparts and defy the odds this season.

Leicestershire inspired

Leicestershire have been widely tipped to struggle in Division Two of the County Championship, but they have enjoyed a promising start, currently sitting second only behind Alastair Cook's Essex.

"If Leicestershire keep Clint McKay fit they have a great chance, as they have recruited well with needed senior players, and happily they have all started the season well", the former club captain said.

Essex v Leicestershire - LV County Championship - Division Two

In fact, they have even further to come than Leicester City, having not won a single four-day game in 2013 and 2014.

Yet, attention will soon turn to England as they look to regain their spot in the top three of the ICC's Test rankings. They should certainly boost their chances against Sri Lanka, but they will face a tough task to beat Pakistan. If they can do that, they will go another step towards proving they are getting back to their best.

Are England still haunted by the Kevin Pietersen saga? Have your say in the comments. 

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Topics:
T20 World Cup
Sri Lanka cricket
Cricket
Kevin Pietersen
England cricket

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