Sydney - Incoming England coach Trevor Bayliss refused to be drawn on
Thursday on whether he wants Kevin Pietersen in his Ashes squad, while saying
he was impressed by the team's recent performances against New Zealand.
Bayliss, an Australian, was appointed as the new England head coach in May
to succeed the sacked Peter Moores, and left Sydney to take up the reins ahead
of the first Ashes Test against his home nation in Cardiff on July 8.
He played a straight bat when pressed by Australian broadcaster Fox Sports
at the airport on whether he wanted the exiled Pietersen back on the team.
"Look, apparently, he's unavailable for selection, so that's all I know
at this stage," said Bayliss, a former Sri Lanka coach who was most
recently at New South Wales.
"He is a good batter but at this stage he is unavailable, so that's all
Pietersen, England's leading all-time run-scorer across all formats, was
told by new England director of cricket Andrew Strauss in May that he was
"not part of our plans for the summer".
Strauss added that there was a "massive trust issue" between the
England and Wales Cricket Board and the controversial batsman, despite
Pietersen smashing an unbeaten triple century for Surrey just ahead of the
The first Australian to coach England, Bayliss will spend four days bonding
with his new team in camp in Spain.
His arrival follows England sharing its recent two-Test series with New
Zealand 1-1 then defeating them 3-2 in a thrilling one-day international series
and winning their sole Twenty20.
Bayliss said he was looking forward to getting to know the players and said
he was impressed by what he had seen from a distance.
"It's been quite exciting, the series against New Zealand, the Tests
and the one-dayers - got some new, young players in there with plenty of skill,
plenty of enthusiasm," he said.
"So it sounds like they're in a good place, they look like they're
enjoying themselves out in the field and that's the main thing."
With expectations high that England can put up a fight against the
Australians, Bayliss said he would not stray far from the methods that have
served him well in his coaching career that has also included stints with the
Sydney Sixers and Kolkata Knight Riders.
"I'm looking forward to it, to be involved in an Ashes series will be
some good fun, I think," he said.
"I will be just doing the things I normally do with any of the cricket
teams I've been involved with, and hopefully that means England will be playing
some good cricket.
"I'm confident of putting up a good show and if they play some good
cricket they'll be a chance of winning," he added.
During the last Ashes campaign, Australia whitewashed England 5-0 on home
soil in 2013/14.