Pietersen now willing to play in World T20


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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen has revealed he still hopes to play in the World Twenty20 later this year even though his England central contract would currently prevent him from doing so.

Pietersen announced his decision to retire from international 50-over cricket 11 days ago and he was effectively forced to quit T20 cricket for his country at the same time, as the England and Wales Cricket Board deem that a player cannot rule himself out of one form of the limited-overs game while continuing to play in the other.

The England management insist they are now planning to defend their World T20 title without Pietersen, yet with the tournament in Sri Lanka only three months away, Pietersen has not given up on the idea of taking part.

Until taking that step, Pietersen, who scored 78 yesterday as the third Test against West Indies drifted towards a draw, played in all three forms for England. He also has a contract with IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils that could net him £1.3 million.

"Is there any way a compromise can be found? I hope so," Pietersen said. "If they want me to play the World T20, I'll play the World T20, but contracts are contracts. They'd have to change the rules to make that happen. I made the decision because of the international schedule. I have heard that apart from [India captain] MS Dhoni, I have played more days' international cricket than anyone during the last seven years, and there comes a time when something has to be taken out of my schedule, and one-day internationals were it.

"I can't play at my peak and play every game and enjoy it when I play all three forms and train – you fall out of love with it. I want to play cricket until I'm 35. It's a difficult decision when you give up anything but waking up the next day, I was buzzing. There are no regrets and I have moved on. I hope it will extend my Test career. It's a shame I've had to take this decision, but that is the schedule we have. If I played for another country, there would be more time off and more chances to rest and recuperate, but you don't get those opportunities when you play for England.

"I can't carry on doing everything. Do I see T20 taking over from 50-over cricket? Yes. It's exciting, it's fun and people come and watch it."

When asked whether he would play in the Big Bash, the Australian T20 competition, Pietersen said he would not, although it is possible that his mind could also be changed on that matter. What is certain is that when England begin the NatWest Series against West Indies in Southampton on Saturday, Pietersen will be absent. The 32-year-old intends to take a break with his family before playing three domestic T20 matches and a County Championship fixture for Surrey.

"I'm having a break until the beginning of July," Pietersen said. "I'll keep hitting balls throughout June because I need to keep myself in this nick, but I'll go on breaks with the family before I start playing again in July."

On another day, the principal point for discussion would have been Denesh Ramdin's written message to Sir Viv Richards after he had scored his second Test century. Angry at perceived criticism from the West Indies legend, Ramdin took a piece of paper from his pocket when he reached his hundred, on which was written "Yea Viv Talk Nah". Richards' response was withering. "This innings was in a losing cause," he said. "Ramdin shouldn't be jumping for joy."

Ramdin said: "I got a bit emotional and it came out the way it did. His statement was a bit hurtful to me but having said that, he's a legend of the Caribbean and I still look up to him."