Pietersen twist not ideal before pivotal Test series

With characteristic timing, Kevin Pietersen has dashed once more into the limelight. He has always found it impossible to stay away from its magnetic spell for long, and with the Test series against South Africa only days away, he has leapt on to centre stage to express his personal dilemma and divert the attention of England's management at a crucial moment.

Pietersen, who retired from limited-overs cricket last month, now appears to want to return, if only because he is extremely keen to play in the World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka in September. Without any need for it to do so, his name will therefore have formed a substantial part of the selectors' discussions as they met to choose the squad for the First Test, which starts at The Oval on Thursday, and the 30 names on an initial list for the World Twenty20 which must be supplied to the ICC this week.

Until a few days ago, Pietersen was out of the reckoning. But he and his representatives have been making overtures to England to see if some deal can be cut. After making a double century for Surrey at Guildford on Friday, he gave his desires an airing.

Originally, Pietersen withdrew from all limited-overs cricket as the selectors refused to grant his request to play only T20 and not one-day internationals. According to the terms of the central contract he signed only last September, he must be available for all England cricket.

He was reported to have said at Guildford: "I've said before that, if the schedule was right, if they could sort my schedule out, I would love to play for another three or four years in all forms of cricket. But the schedule at the moment is a nightmare."

That seemed to suggest if England reduced their commitments for him, he might come charging to their rescue. Of course he is negotiating from a position of strength after his smashing double hundred for Surrey. But England appear to be resolute. They have said repeatedly that if Pietersen were allowed to pick and choose his formats others may follow. Their worst fear may be that if they find a way to accommodate him this summer, playing in the one- dayers against South Africa, for instance, and then he calls it a day again after the World Twenty20.

Pietersen will, of course, take his place in a squad of 13 today for the Test match, the most eagerly awaited cricket of the summer, though there must be times when the selectors think he is too high-maintenance. Their tough decisions for the cadre, being announced today, were for the sixth batting spot, likely to go to Ravi Bopara ahead of Jonny Bairstow, and the third seam bowler, for which Steve Finn has abundant support ahead of Tim Bresnan.

Both are likely to be included along with Graham Onions, but Bresnan will be hard to omit on Thursday. Although the ICC team rankings have undergone their annual revision, the focus for this series is clear. If England win they stay top, if South Africa win they go top.

It should be England, just.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam