Kevin Pietersen risks England breaking point if he puts IPL place before Test career

The batsman likely to be retained by Delhi Daredevils

The England cricket hierarchy could find out as soon as Thursday whether Kevin Pietersen intends to play in the Indian Premier League this year and, in doing so, risk his Test future, with the batsman likely to be retained by Delhi Daredevils.

The controversial batsman is at odds with coach Andy Flower and his international future has been thrown into doubt since England's humiliating 5-0 Ashes defeat. In order to be sure of his Test place, early-season county runs, rather than a quick buck in India, would strengthen Pietersen's case.

Pietersen's enthusiasm for the IPL has long been an issue between him and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and Flower this week described the forthcoming IPL as a "tricky subject". Far more will be clear on Thursday, when IPL teams have to submit their list of up to five retained players. Pietersen played for Delhi in 2012 and even spent a few days with the side last year despite missing the season with injury.

It is very likely that Pietersen will be on the retained list, according to two sources close to the franchise, one telling The Independent he would be "very, very surprised" if Pietersen was not. Pietersen is well known to have enjoyed playing in the IPL and is well thought of in Delhi. The Australia batsman David Warner is also likely to be retained, although Indian legend Virender Sehwag may not be. The decision will be in the hands of incoming coach Gary Kirsten. Even if Pietersen is not on the retained list tomorrow he could still be in the pool for the auction on Wednesday 12 February.

Playing in the IPL is not incompatible with playing for England this year. The new central contracts allow participation up until 13 May – three weeks into the competition, at which point they will have to return for the start of the one-day international series against Sri Lanka on 22 May.

Some England players, though, such as Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes, are likely to turn down IPL deals to play county cricket and earn their Test places for the summer. Even if Pietersen returned on 13 May, he would miss Surrey's first five County Championship matches and would have played no first-class cricket before the first ODI on 22 May.

After the failings of the winter, Pietersen signing for Delhi would be a statement of intent. Flower was asked about his players' IPL commitments this week and replied: "It is something that we have to talk about, but that is a tricky subject, isn't it?"

Pietersen did, however, insist that he wanted to continue his England career through to winning back the Ashes next year. "I am shocked and saddened by reports concerning my future with England," he tweeted. "I wish to repeat my strong desire to continue playing for my country, and to help us regain the Ashes in 2015." Pietersen went on to criticise reports of Flower's disappointment with his conduct as "lies".

Flower, meanwhile, denied that he had issued an ultimatum that England must choose between him and Pietersen. "Neither I nor the wider ECB leadership group have made any decisions as to the future involvement of any individuals..." Flower said. "The reports that I have issued an ultimatum... to the ECB are totally inaccurate."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
tv

News
VIDEO
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
news
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower