England begin a new era without their most talented, destructive and polarising batsman as Stuart Broad leads his wards out for the first ODI against West Indies.
Kevin Pietersen will be the big name missing from the England lineup from here on in, with the Three Lions desperate to move on without their main man, and also that dismal tour Down Under, where they were thumped in both the Ashes and the one-day internationals.
"There's no doubt Kev was a fantastic player for England, part of a hugely successful era," said England's T20 skipper Broad, who will also lead the ODI side in this series. "I have fond memories of KP from 2010 when he was the kingpin in helping us win that World Cup. But it's time for the guys in that changing room to realise they can be match-winners and can step up now.
"I'll repeat that KP has been a fantastic player for England -- he's scored a lot of match-winning runs but a decision was taken by guys who are desperate for England to improve in the future not just over the next four or five months but going forward in to the next few years.
"It was heartbreaking to go to Australia and lose 5-0 and we've lost a few good men in doing that. It's a winter that was a disaster, but as an England side we have to look forward now."
Pietersen was the man of the series the last time England was in the West Indies, during the World T20, and the three ODIs will act as a bit of a warm-up to the following T20Is, which will in turn be vital for both teams' preparations for the World T20 in Bangladesh next month.
"We've got strong areas we need to improve on in ODI cricket," Broad added. "I think our death bowling is somewhere where we need our skills to improve. Of course that comes with yorkers and our change-ups and that will also help us in Bangladesh. The pitches there can be pretty good to bat on so getting up in the hole is important. The bowlers have been having a good focus on their yorker bowling."
West Indies will also be without several big names, including Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, who has also been ruled out of the World T20. Skipper Dwayne Bravo, though, admitted the team would miss competing against Pietersen.
"I would have loved KP to be here," Bravo said. "He's a player that the world loves to see play cricket. Despite his problems, personally I love to see him play and it would have been good for us to actually play against him. It's good for international cricket to have someone of his calibre to continue playing.
"At the end of the day, no player is bigger than the game. Regardless of how good you are, there are guidelines and there are rules. Whoever the player, you have to respect that. For me personally, I am a Kevin Pietersen fan. And I know the world is too. But that's England's issue, and I don't have to worry about it."
West Indies vs England 1st ODI Live TV information (Match starts 9.30 am local time, 1.30 pm GMT, 7 pm IST)
|West Indies||Sports Max|
|United Kingdom||Sky Sports 2|
1st ODI: West Indies vs England Live Streaming information (Match starts 9.30 am local time, 1.30 pm GMT, 7 pm IST)
|UK||Sky SportsBBC Radio 5 Live|
Team news: West Indies: Apart from Gayle and Pollard, the hosts are also missing several fast bowlers, including Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor, Fidel Edwards and Shannon Gabriel. West Indies might choose to play an extra spinner against England, while Dwayne Smith is expected to take Gayle's place at the top of the batting order.
England: Eoin Morgan is a doubt with a knee injury, picked up in the win over Vice Chancellor's XI earlier this week, and the Irishman's absence could open up a place for rookie Moeen Ali. Alex Hales is also set to make his debut after opening with Luke Wright in the tour match.
Expected lineups: West Indies: Dwayne Smith, Kieron Powell, Darren Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo (capt), Darren Sammy, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Jason Holder, Nikita Miller.
England: Alex Hales, Luke Wright, Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad (capt), Chris Jordan, James Tredwell.