Kevin Pietersen could return to county cricket in bid to win an England recall

Batsman wants to resume his international career and will skip IPL season

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen is "looking at" playing county cricket this year in a bid to win an England recall.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Pietersen, who was sacked by the England team's managing director Paul Downton last winter but who continues to say he wants to resume his international career, will skip the Indian Premier League season and said Surrey were the favourites to re-sign him.

Pietersen, who writes a column for the Telegraph, retweeted the story late on Friday night and shared a picture of the Telegraph's sports page, while writing "£626 £185" - which references his Test and ODI numbers for England.

Then on Saturday, when asked if he would play county cricket, he told Fox Sports Australia: "That's what I'm looking at 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 get the opportunity."

Following his sacking, Pietersen wrote a book which was strongly critical of several of his England team-mates and it appeared that he would finish his career playing Twenty20 cricket overseas.

But with England limping to an early exit in the World Cup, speculation about a return has resumed and the England and Wales Cricket Board's incoming chairman Colin Graves said last month that players would be picked on performance and not personality when he takes over from Giles Clarke in May.

Pietersen, who turns 35 this summer, continued: "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.

"There's nothing to add (to the reports). Whatever you've seen, you've seen. I've still got more decisions to make - it's weekend now so nobody will be picking up their phones, but (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) will be very exciting, hopefully."

The Sunrisers Hyderabad signed Pietersen for around £300,000 in the IPL auction in January, but in order to be considered for England once again Pietersen would have to pull out as the IPL season runs from April 9 to May 25.

He has also signed to play for St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League, which starts at the end of June.

Pietersen made 23 centuries and averaged 47.28 in 104 Test appearances for England, while adding nine tons at an average of 40.73 in 136 ODIs.

However, despite his obvious talents and England's apparent need with an Ashes series looming, he would face a number of challenges to get back into the side.

Quite apart from the question of whether he could be reintegrated in the dressing room following his explosive book, Pietersen has not played first-class cricket since the end of the Ashes tour in January 2014, and his form in T20 fluctuated before a successful Big Bash campaign in Australia.

PA

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