Pietersen in complete about-turn
Rebel batsman makes himself available for all forms of cricket... assuming England still want him
Kevin Pietersen last night declared his undying love for England in a bid to save his international career. In a dramatic change of heart, he announced that he was once more available for all forms of the game whenever he was wanted.
Pietersen also made it clear in a specially shot video interview that he no longer expected to play a full season in the next round of the Indian Premier League.
After a week of speculation about his future since the end of the Second Test match against South Africa, it was a quite astonishing turn of events. "I'm not going anywhere," said Pietersen.
The nine-minute interview may have led to a swift change in the crucial third match at Lord's which begins on Thursday. Late last night the announcement of the squad was put back from 9.30am today until 2.30pm making it likely that Pietersen had been dropped but will now be restored if his pleas are heard and understood.
Pietersen said in the interview: "I have realised what is important to me, I have realised I can be happy, I have realised how much I love playing for England, I have realised these last three or four days would be a very sad way to go after all the runs and all the happiness I have enjoyed. I would hate to leave playing for England, and hate to leave all the fans who love watching England, this way. I don't think it's right."
If the management agree, it means that Pietersen will not only be named in the squad for the next match but will also be picked for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka next month and for future one-day internationals. He retired from all limited-overs cricket earlier this summer because of the heavy workload, and in the wake of the match at Leeds it seemed there were still huge issues.
The cricketing week has been dominated by him – like so many before – because he said in a bizarre post-match press briefing that this week's Test could be his last. While declining to give details it was clear he was unhappy with the team, the management and his workload.
His position seemed to be strengthened by his coruscating century at Leeds which demonstrated how important he is in the England middle order.
But as the week wore on it seemed increasingly that his place had become untenable, not least because he was virtually isolated in the team. But it seems that at the last moment Pietersen recognised his entire career could be vanishing before his eyes.
"I was in an emotional state and I didn't handle it very well at all," he said. "I said things I probably shouldn't have said but I like to clear things up. I have got to the point now where I think playing for England, this is what I want."
Pietersen said that the mood in the dressing room had been sorted out after he and a team-mate had a long chat about various issues.
He knew he had bridges to rebuild after his comments and the accusations that he had sent text messages to South African players which took the rise out of England colleagues.
It is a significant climbdown which he said he had reached after talks with his advisors and family. It seems he could see the end coming and did not like what he saw.
"I love playing cricket for England," said Pietersen. "I love being part of a successful team. It would be sad for me to finish my career the way things have been running, so after sitting down with my family and advisors we have decided it would be a lot better to finish my career on a more positive note rather than the one at the moment."
Pietersen insisted that he was not motivated by money but said that he had a short career and needed to provide for the future of his young family. But he said he was passionate about playing for England.
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