Cricket World Cup 2015: Kevin Pietersen deserves the truth over England future, says Geoff Boycott

Pietersen has already confirmed he will seek an audience with new ECB chairman Colin Graves

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The Independent Online

Geoff Boycott has called for the England and Wales Cricket Board to be honest with Kevin Pietersen and not “lead him on” if there is no chance of the batsman returning to the international fold.

Pietersen is clinging to renewed hope that he might yet resume his international career, after new ECB chairman Colin Graves hinted it could be possible.

BBC pundit, and former England captain, Boycott has called for face-to-face discussions in which the governing body is “fair” to Pietersen and does not “lead him on” without a true intention to recall him as long as he plays well.

Pietersen, meanwhile, has already confirmed he will seek an audience with Graves – well aware he and his advisers must somehow try to resurrect a county career before they can think about any more glory days with England.

 

Boycott knows where they need to start – with clear communication to ensure no new stumbling blocks are created. “It says to me that Kevin needs to get a meeting with Colin Graves as soon as he can – and, preferably, with [the managing director of England Cricket] Paul Downton and [national selector] James Whitaker there after he has spoken to the chairman – because he wants to be clear,” Boycott told the BBC.

“It’s all right the chairman saying he has to play county cricket. But if he does that and gives up a lucrative IPL [Indian Premier League] contract and Downton and Whitaker are still not going to pick him, that’s kind of like leading him on, isn’t it? And that’s not fair.

“It needs to be put clear to him that if he plays well in county cricket then there’s going to be a genuine – and I mean the word genuine – change of heart and change of opinion that he is going to be open for selection and that they are going to put bygones to one side.

“I don’t think that it is fair to ask anybody to give up an IPL contract – because that’s all he has. He only has Twenty20 around the world.”

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ECB chairman Colin Graves has hinted that Pietersen could be recalled

Pietersen was in optimistic mood yesterday morning that an unlikely reconciliation may be achieved, tweeting: “Incredibly humbling how supportive you’ve all been since the news broke yesterday from Mr Colin Graves. Gonna try work this out for sure!”

Indications in the 24 hours since Graves’ BBC interview appear to have been broadly less encouraging for the exiled 34-year-old batsman.

The ECB issued a statement on Sunday evening, insisting “nothing has changed” in his status and adding “only players who are playing consistent high-quality county cricket and who are seen as a positive influence will be selected for England”.

Pietersen’s world-class standing means he can command an enormous salary – but if he finds himself in a position where he needs a county contract at all costs, he could perhaps be re-entering a buyer’s market.

Graves had already stressed the prerequisite of any conceivable progress must be a return to county cricket, something Pietersen’s summer T20 contracts in the Indian and Caribbean premier leagues will hardly help.

His involvement in English domestic cricket for Surrey last summer was fleeting – exclusively in the T20 Blast – following his sacking by England 13 months ago.

Downton has spoken on several occasions since then of the record-breaking batsman’s apparent “disengagement” with his team-mates while England were losing the final Ashes Test in Sydney last winter by 281 runs.

There was, understandably, little engagement on the topic from Pietersen’s former team-mate Joe Root who – along with his current colleagues – has more pressing issues to confront in Australia and New Zealand as England try to stay in the World Cup.

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