Kevin Pietersen’s retirement from one-day internationals could yet prove to be a brief interlude after he said he would “love to play for another three or four years in all forms of cricket”.
Pietersen, speaking after warming-up for next week’s first Test against his native South Africa with a superb unbeaten 234 for Surrey against county champions Lancashire, added he had held talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about ending his limited overs retirement.
The 32-year-old, arguably England’s most talented batsman, quit white ball internationals for his adopted country after team management refused him his wish to appear in Twenty20 matches while opting out of 50-over games.
However, the terms of an ECB central contract prevent players picking and choosing formats and team management held firm, fearing an exodus of leading names from the one-day side if they gave Pietersen his head.
As it happened, in Pietersen’s absence England beat the West Indies 2-0 and thrashed Australia 4-0 to make it 10 one-day international wins in a row.
Pietersen, who still harbours hopes of helping England defend their World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka in September, having been man of the tournament in the Caribbean two years ago, insisted once more that the team’s packed schedule was a major barrier to a one-day return.
“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,” said Pietersen yesterday.
“But the schedule at the moment is a nightmare. I hope something can be sorted out.”
If Pietersen is to play in the World Twenty20, England will have to move fast as the International Cricket Council deadline for naming initital 30-man squads is July 18.
“I’ve always said I want to play in Twenty20,” said Pietersen. “But I needed to get away from the schedule. I cannot keep playing every single day’s cricket. I’ve never been looked after. I cannot keep playing every warm-up game, I cannot keep practising every single day. There comes a time when I know what I need to do to be successful. I’ve got a young family and I cannot be on the treadmill all day, every day.”