Kevin Pietersen makes yet another England plea

Sacked batsman claims Morgan ‘would love’ to have him in his World Cup side

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The Independent Online

You have to admire Kevin Pietersen’s chutzpah. Or, given the situation with him and English cricket, his sheer delusion. As England continue their first tentative steps towards the big stage of the World Cup, the South African-born batsman has been jumping up and down in the wings, badgering anyone who will listen, telling them that he is available if they need him.

It’s getting to be like the scene in Alan Partridge, when the protagonist is standing in a country club car park, shouting in vain “Dan!” no fewer than 15 times to a person who pointedly ignores him.

Yesterday he upped the ante, by saying the new captain, Eoin Morgan, “would love to have me in the England team”. This may be true, as is the idea that Morgan “would love” to be able to see into the future and find out next week’s Lottery numbers.

The bare fact is that, as long as Peter Moores is coach and the current suits remain in the England and Wales Cricket Board’s corridors of power, a KP return ain’t going to happen.

England’s World Cup captain, Eoin Morgan (left), chatting with batting coach Mark Ramprakash, wants Pietersen in the team, according to KP himself

Pietersen, who was sacked 11 months ago and has since published an autobiography in which he alleged a bullying culture existed in the dressing room under the former coach Andy Flower, says he “hasn’t got a clue” why he was given the elbow.

He is in Australia at present, taking part in the domestic Twenty20 Big Bash competition – and it was during commentary for this event that he poured his heart out to the former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.

Pietersen said: “I was sacked – P45. I don’t know why I’m not playing for England... I haven’t got a clue.”

In Morgan, however, Pietersen believes he has a significant ally.

“I know that the current captain would love to have me in the England team,” he said. “I get on pretty well with most of the guys in there, if not all of them. I don’t see why [I couldn’t play again]. I want to play for England.

“If I get the opportunity to play for England ... I’m 34 years of age, Kumar Sangakkara is 38 and has just scored a double hundred. I honestly believe I’m batting as well as I’ve ever batted.

“I’ve got over my knee injury, which was huge – over the last 18 months, I’d just hated batting because my knee has been so sore. Given half an opportunity to go and play the way I’m playing at the moment, of course I would.”

Back in Canberra, where the England team are preparing for tonight’s triangular series warm-up against a Prime Minister’s XI, before they take on Australia in Sydney on Friday, Pietersen’s increasingly noisy pleas, much like Partridge’s, have been ignored.

They have a World Cup to prepare for. And Moeen Ali, who is on to his fourth opening partner in Ian Bell, having made only 12 one-day appearances, is happy to play the aggressor in the pairing.

“Aggressively is probably the only way I can play in one-day cricket,” he said. “I feel it’s the best way for me to play and if I’ve got any doubt I just tell myself to go hard and not go into a little shell.

“If we are going to win the World Cup and be a successful one-day side we will need good starts. I’ve batted with Belly quite a bit. I think our styles will complement each other.”

Meanwhile, the Australia batsman Chris Rogers has insisted his side have no intention of toning down their on-field conduct after Jonathan Agnew criticised their behaviour in the aftermath of Phillip Hughes’ death.

BBC Radio Cricket Correspondent Agnew has declared his disappointment at the way the Baggy Greens carried themselves during an ill-tempered Test series against India.

“Looking from the outside it looks like a few flashpoints and a bit of spite but that’s just the nature of Test cricket,” Rogers said.

“Everyone goes out there and competes as hard as they can. At times the anger does rise to the surface.

“I’d like to think it was pretty hard fought but everybody afterwards still gets on and what happens on the field stays on the field.

“I think there was still a lot of respect. India gave as good as they got and we like that, we enjoyed the way they played,” Rogers added.