Flower thought KP would play through WC

Last Updated: Mar 08, 2011, 11:36 AM IST

Chennai: The pace at which Kevin Pietersen`s hernia problem deteriorated took England coach Andy Flower by surprise as he, at first, thought that the star batsman would continue in the World Cup by taking painkillers.

Pietersen was yesterday ruled out of the World Cup and flew back to England to undergo the hernia surgery which has also made him unavailable for the Indian Premier League next month.

"The timing is not ideal because we are in the middle of the World Cup. We had very clear medical advice that this hernia problem Kevin`s got wouldn`t get significantly worse and he was at no risk of damaging himself further.”

"He wasn`t going to tear anything so we hoped he would get through the tournament OK, take painkillers when needed and bite the bullet," he added.

Pietersen was initially supposed to undergo the operation after England`s World Cup campaign but he complained of worsening pain after the narrow six-run win over South Africa.

"Kevin says it has got worse, pain-wise, and he can`t carry on playing like this. So it was a pretty simple decision to replace him.”

"He`s had this problem for weeks. We have been managing it for a number of weeks. The very clear medical advice was that he wasn`t going to tear it or damage it permanently by playing on. After playing against South Africa, his feeling was it was too sore to play international cricket," Flower said.

On whether Pietersen could have played with the pain, Flower said the decision ultimately rests with the player.

"I empathise with anyone with a serious injury. You never know exactly what they`re feeling, so you`ve got to listen to what they`re saying. Of course we`re disappointed to lose him. He`s a world-class player," he said.

Flower, however, rejected speculation that Pietersen was considering one-day retirement.

"Kevin`s told me he wants to carry on playing one-day international cricket and I`ll take him at his word," said Flower.

Pietersen has been replaced by Eoin Morgan in the squad and Flower said the batsman would head to the nets straightaway after landing in the sub-continent.

"We`ll get him straight into the nets. He`s a very skilful player and a pretty no-nonsense guy. I can envisage him playing straight away. He`s 100 per cent fit," he said.

PTI