Mumbai: Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen is eyeing a return to international cricket by playing for his country of birth, South Africa, saying it is “definitely still an option”. (Yuvraj Singh, Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen Among Hot Picks – Five Things to Know)
The flamboyant middle-order batsman would become eligible for South Africa in 2018, four years after his England career ended following the 2013-14 Ashes when he was sacked by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for “cricketing reasons”. (Ajinkya Rahane Steers Rising Pune Supergiants to Easy Win Over Mumbai Indians in Opener)
Pietersen would be 37 in 2018, but if his words are any indication, it is clear that he hasn’t yet given up on making a return to the top-flight. (Virat Kohli, Lendl Simmons Among Top 5 Batsmen to Watch Out For)
“Yes, it is a thought in my head. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Obviously, playing international is something I have done for a very long time,” Pietersen said as he began his latest stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Pietersen, who is currently representing the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led new IPL franchise Rising Punt Supergiants, added, “Do I miss playing international cricket? Do I miss batting in international cricket? Yes, I do very much so you never know. The eligibility for South Africa is still a year away.
“So we will have to wait and see but it is definitely still an option. An English call-up is definitely still an option. I am in a great frame of mind now.”
One of the major fallouts during Pietersen’s England career came during the 2012 series against South Africa when he sent derogatory texts about then captain Andrew Strauss to Graeme Smith.
The batsman was left out for the final Test of that series before returning in India, where he helped England win the series, before relations between him and the ECB took another turn for worse.
Pietersen left his home country in 2004 to play for England. He scored 8,181 runs in his 104-Test career, notching up 23 hundreds at an average of 47.28.