Pietersen could ditch IPL for English county deal

Pietersen could ditch IPL for English county deal

Pietersen could ditch IPL for English county deal

Exiled batsman Kevin Pietersen says he's considering a return to English county cricket this year in a bid to regain his place in England's Test and One-Day International (ODI) sides.

Pietersen was controversially sacked by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last year and appeared destined to play out the rest of his career in Twenty20 leagues around the world, report cricket.com.au.

But a change of leadership at the ECB - Tom Harrison has replaced David Collier as CEO and Colin Graves will take over as chairman from Giles Clarke in May - has convinced Pietersen that his international career may not yet be over.

The 34-year-old says he's looking at the prospect of signing a county contract and ditching his lucrative deal with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as it clashes with the English domestic season. 

"That's what I'm looking at the moment. There will be a change of scenery at board level with the ECB and I've always expressed my desire to play for England again if I got the opportunity," Pietersen told Fox Sports ahead of his World Cup commentary debut during Australia's Pool A match against Scotland on Saturday.

"And it seems encouraging, but I've obviously got a few steps that I've got to climb. It just makes perfect sense to explore different things. That's what I'm doing at the moment." 

A report in England's The Telegraph on Saturday said six counties have expressed an interest in signing Pietersen, but Surrey is "the most likely outcome".

The report said: "To have any chance of playing for England, Pietersen has to show his full commitment by pulling out of the IPL and agreeing to play all formats of the game in county cricket". 

When asked about the article, the right-hander said: "There's nothing to add, whatever you've seen you've seen. I've still got more decisions to make.

"It's the weekend now so nobody will be picking up their phones, but Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday will be very exciting hopefully."

Pietersen on Saturday retweeted The Telegraph's story and changed his profile image to the back page of the paper trumpeting his return. The numbers #626 and #185 are Pietersen's Test and one-day international numbers.

Since his sacking by the ECB, Pietersen has plied his trade as a Twenty20 specialist in the KFC T20 Big Bash League, the IPL and the Caribbean Premier League. But he's repeatedly expressed his desire to return to the international arena.

"When you don't play any form of international cricket and you've had it for such a long time, (you want to play) anything, absolutely anything," he said. 

"You miss it so much when you're not playing it. Obviously I've been lucky to come here and play in the Big Bash, play in the IPL, play in the Caribbean League."But Test cricket, one-day cricket, playing for your country is very special." 

The fallout from Pietersen's sacking last year has been bitter. The former captain published a book in which he was scathing of several key players in English cricket, especially former coach Andy Flower and wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

He has also had a turbulent relationship with current coach Peter Moores, while ECB managing director Paul Downton was behind the push to sack him last year. Pietersen hasn't played first class cricket since the fifth Ashes Test last January, but was one of the better performing players in the BBL this summer.

Pietersen has played 104 Tests for England, scoring 8181 runs with an average of 47.28. He has 23 centuries and 35 fifties. He also has represented the Three Lions in 136 ODIs, scoring 4440 runs.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox