LONDON (Reuters) - England batsman Kevin Pietersen will not be ready for the one-day series with New Zealand and June's Champions Trophy after a further scan on his injured knee on Wednesday, fuelling speculation he could be an Ashes doubt.
"Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out of the ICC Champions Trophy following a repeat MRI scan on his right knee earlier today," the England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement, adding he would also skip the New Zealand one-dayers which precede the tournament.
The 32-year-old had already been told he would miss the two-match test series against New Zealand next month because of the injury.
He suffered the knee problem during fielding practice in the away series in New Zealand last month and was unable to play in the third and final test.
The home five-test Ashes series against Australia starts in Nottingham on July 10 with the Champions Trophy one-day tournament taking place from June 6-23, also in England.
Pietersen remains England's most explosive batsman and any sign he will miss all or part of the Ashes offers encouragement to Australia, who named their squad earlier on Wednesday and are seen as underdogs after losing the last two series.
"Pietersen will now start a graduated rehabilitation programme with a view to resuming full training by the middle of June," the ECB statement added.
(Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by Ken Ferris)