Rift puts England in spin

London, January 4:

England looked like having to decide between keeping Kevin Pietersen as captain or Peter Moores as coach after the star batsman called for an end to the duo’s “unhealthy” relationship. The News of the World (NoW) said there appeared “little prospect” of the pair working together on the upcoming tour of the West Indies, where England will look to gather momentum ahead of their bid to reclaim the Ashes.

It added there had been a “complete breakdown in what was an already fraught relationship” and said attempts by England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Hugh Morris to broker a peace deal between Pietersen and Moores had an “impossible” chance of success.

Pietersen, who broke off from a holiday in his native South Africa to hold talks with Morris on Saturday, stopped short of calling for Moores’s sacking. But the 28-year-old said: “This situation is not healthy, we have to make sure it is settled as soon as possible and certainly before we fly off to the West Indies.”

Contrary to earlier reports, the NoW said the exclusion of former England captain Michael Vaughan from the West Indies squad was not the cause of Pietersen’s bust-up with Moores, insisting the pair had already fallen out. Former England captain David Gower believes Pietersen will win the power struggle. Another former captain, Alec Stewart, warned the issue needed to be cleared.

Pietersen took over as captain following Vaughan’s tearful resignation during August’s home series loss to South Africa. He won widespread admiration for the way he recently led England, who lost the series 1-0, back to India for a two-Test tour which risked being abandoned because of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Moores is on a one-year rolling contract and any attempt to sack him could cost the ECB as much as $363,047 and leave them scrambling to find a new coach days before England arrive in the Caribbean on January 21 for a four-Test tour.