Having scored just one Test century since July 2014, Bell was left out of the 16-man party on Thursday after a disappointing series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Pietersen, whose own international career came to an end following England’s disastrous Ashes defeat in Australia, criticised that decision on social media.
“I’m actually sitting here very, very, very annoyed,” he said via BreatheSport.
“How can you take somebody who’s played over 100 Test matches and you’ve got the biggest Test series coming up against the No1 side in the world and you can drop him? Leave him out of the tour?
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. I understand how people say he might not have scored some runs for a while but you’re going to play South Africa, in South Africa – one of the best bowling attacks that’s bowled over the last few years. You have to take him for his experience. You just have to take him. You cannot drop him before this. If he doesn’t score runs after South Africa then maybe I can sort of understand it but I just do not get the thinking behind this.”
Pietersen added: “Captain Cook himself. He can go two years without a Test hundred but he can play every single game. As for Belly, he struggles a bit – he got a hundred, what nine or 10 Test matches ago? – but he’s not good enough to get to the South Africa tour? I think it’s pathetic and I think he’s been hard done by here and people need to start having a hard look at themselves.”
This article was written by Ed Aarons, for theguardian.com on Thursday 19th November 2015 11.50 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010