England opening batsman Kevin Pietersen will return home for a hernia operation, bringing an early end to the exciting player's World Cup campaign, the Telegraph newspaper reported Monday.
The South Africa-born opener could return to England when his teammates fly from India to Bangladesh later Monday, giving captain Andrew Strauss a dilemma over who will partner him at the top of the order.
Pietersen made a duck during England's dramatic Group B win over his native South Africa on Sunday, and he has now gone through 27 one-day internationals without registering a century.
It was announced on Saturday that Pietersen would undergo an operation, but after the tournament. However, the procedure appears to have been brought forward after the opener was clearly handicapped during Sunday's victory.
The batsman's early departure raises questions over his future in the 50-over form of the game, having frequently complained about the crammed international schedule.
England can apply to the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the next 48 hours to replace Pietersen.
Eoin Morgan is likely to get the nod after recovering well from a broken finger.