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'No excuses, ditch KP': Boof unloads on Pietersen after Star recruit falls cheaply

Cricket

Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann wasted no time ripping into Kevin Pietersen after his Melbourne Stars were hammered by the Perth Scorchers in their BBL semi-final last night.

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The Australian coach called on the Stars to “move him on” after Pietersen managed only five from 10 balls before succumbing to a rampaging Mitchell Johnson.

Pietersen was just one of the Stars batsmen to fall limply in a total of 8-136 batting first before the Scorchers breezed into this weekend’s final with a clinical seven-wicket victory at the WACA Ground.

Although Pietersen finished the BBL season as one of the leading run-scorers – with 268 runs at an average of 38.28 in eight matches – Lehmann didn’t mince his words on Twitter over what he thinks the Stars should do with their marquee international player.

The 36-year-old is contracted with the Stars for next BBL season and is believed to be on a deal worth around $200,000 that includes TV commentary and promotion of the BBL.

Pietersen, who also limped off with a sore hamstring while fielding, was Johnson’s third victim after the left-arm paceman’s two wickets in the first over of the match immediately put the Stars on the back foot.

On the player’s mic, he noted the WACA pitch was unusually slow before mistiming a wristy leg-side shot and was caught at mid-wicket.

Stars board member and chairman of selectors Damien Fleming defended Pietersen’s contribution at the franchise in TV commentary.

“He does a lot of marketing, a lot of promotion. Up until now the Melbourne Stars are very happy with the way he has contributed,” Fleming said.

Despite failing to fire in the semi-final, Pietersen produced two half-centuries and an unbeaten 44 during a recent purple patch.

He provides a swagger for us and he’s just a good all-round person

Stars skipper David Hussey said he would be a valuable asset next season.

“He’s part of the fabric of the Stars,” Hussey said.

“He’s been fantastic. Not only with his runs, but he also provides a lot of insight and experience for the rest of the players.

“He provides a swagger for us and he’s just a good all-round person.”

Hussey vowed his team will come back bigger and better next season, although he’s not sure if he’ll be there to help end the franchise’s title drought.

Last night was the fifth time in six seasons the Stars have been beaten in a semi-final, and Hussey will be 40 by the time next summer’s BBL begins.

The right-hander averaged just 17 with the bat this season, but his experience was invaluable.

Hussey said he would let the dust settle before making a decision on his future.

“I’m a bit raw at the moment. A bit emotional. Let’s wait and see what happens,” Hussey said.

“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge.

“Speaking to a few of the boys, we’re making a few pacts together to come back bigger and better next season. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

The Scorchers will host the final on Saturday night against the winner of tonight’s clash between the Brisbane Heat and Sydney Sixers at the Gabba.

-AAP

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