London: Kevin Pietersen's faint hopes of an England recall suffered another blow on Monday when Surrey confirmed he was unlikely to play any first-class cricket in the final weeks of the season.
Pietersen has only played Twenty20 cricket since being axed by England in the aftermath of their miserable Ashes defeat in Australia earlier this year, but it was recently suggested the flamboyant batsman might help Surrey in their final two County Championship matches.
But third-placed Surrey, who have only an outside chance of promotion from the Second Division, have decided instead to look to the future by giving younger players another opportunity away to table-toppers Worcestershire in a match which starts on Tuesday.
Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart said: "We discussed it, (head coach) Graham Ford and myself, the possibility of bringing Kevin in.
"But realistically, we've got just an outside chance of promotion. "So it's better for the future of the club if we give the likes of an Aneesh Kapil or Arun Harinath two first-class games to gain more experience to see how they can progress - which will stand us in good stead for next season."
Pietersen, presumably realising his England chances are extremely slender at best, had no complaints about the decision and took to Twitter to defend Surrey for opting for youth over his experience.
"I was only going to play for @surreycricket if we had a realistic chance of gaining promotion. Now that's gone, I'm not playing," Pietersen said. "It was @surreycricket's decision as it would be a great opportunity for the youngsters to get some more First Class experience."
Photos: Shah Rukh Khan, Shweta Bachchan at Karan Johar's book launch
Photos: Sunny Deol with sons Karan and Rajvir at Mumbai airport
Photos: 10 beautiful moments that capture winter around the world
Photos: Karisma Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Shraddha Kapoor at Mumbai airport
Spotted: Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh at Mumbai studio