The England and Wales Cricket Board last night clarified the situation regarding any possible return to the national team for Kevin Pietersen – insisting “nothing has changed”.
New ECB chairman Colin Graves appeared to open the door again, in an interview this morning, to a conceivable route back into team for the record-breaking batsman who was sacked more than a year ago. Graves made it clear nonetheless Pietersen must first play county cricket once more, having been de-registered by Surrey at the end of last season, if he is to have any chance of resuming his international career.
An ECB spokesman later said: “Colin Graves is correct. Nothing has changed – only players who are playing consistent high-quality county cricket and who are seen as a positive influence will be selected for England.”
Pietersen was axed by the ECB in the aftermath of the 2013-14 whitewash Ashes defeat in Australia. England’s continued struggles in the short-form of the game prompt many to call for his return. However, he has commitments to play in the Indian Premier League and Caribbean Premier League, while Surrey chairman Richard Thompson said it was the club’s understanding that Pietersen had no plans to play county cricket again. “Our understanding at the end of last summer was that Pietersen had no intention of playing red-ball cricket,” Thompson said.