Cricket: Australian players bemused over Pietersen saga, glad he's out of Ashes series

Australian cricketers are in shock over the banishment of England's Kevin Pietersen (pictured) from the international game, but are delighted they will not have to face him in this year's Ashes series. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Australian cricketers are in shock over the banishment of England's Kevin Pietersen (pictured) from the international game, but are delighted they will not have to face him in this year's Ashes series. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian cricketers are in shock over Kevin Pietersen's banishment from the international game but delighted they will not have to face him in this year's Ashes series.

England's leading all-time run-scorer across all formats has been told by new director of cricket Andrew Strauss that he is "not part of our plans for the summer".

Strauss cited a massive trust issue between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the controversial batsman, 34.

Australian players are bemused by the saga while relishing the ongoing drama distracting their arch-enemies ahead of the Ashes, beginning in July.

"I know that Strauss and him probably don't get on (but) I'm not going to believe it until we get over there and they pick their squad," paceman Ryan Harris told Cricket Australia's website on Thursday.

"If he keeps going on and playing for Surrey, he may quit now, but if he keeps going and scoring hundred after hundred, there's going to be a lot of pressure to pick him."

Peter Siddle, who has dismissed Pietersen more times (10) than any other bowler in Test cricket, is also rejoicing at his absence from the coming series.

Test leg-spin great Shane Warne was equally incredulous about his banishment.

"If Strauss wanted instant public acceptance and the whole country to support Eng again, he should have said, 'I want KP back in the team'," he tweeted.

Warne added: "Question, will the ECB only employ a new coach on the proviso he doesn't want KP in the team?"