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IPL: With runs on mind, Pietersen has a point to prove with Rising Pune

ipl Updated: Apr 10, 2016 19:57 IST
Highlight Story

After his attempt to win a place back in the English side last year failed despite a successful county stint, Kevin Pietersen has a point to prove in the IPL this time.(HT Photo)

On Friday, Kevin Pietersen admitted he was thinking about playing for his native country South Africa.

Pietersen, 35, will be eligible to play for South Africa in 2017.

“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. Do I miss playing international cricket? Do I miss batting in international cricket? Yes I do very much so you never know,” said Pietersen.

With a year left before he can try for a place in the South Africa side, Pietersen said he would not relent in his pursuit of an England cap.

“The eligibility for South Africa is still a year away. So we will have to wait and see but it (an English call-up) is definitely still an option,” said Pietersen.

Under ICC rules, once a player has represented a Test-playing nation, he must wait for four years to represent another team. Pietersen’s last Test was against Australia in the fifth Ashes Test in January 2014.

Last year, while representing Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Pietersen had chosen to skip the franchise-based league to play the county circuit in a bid to win a place back in the England Test side.

In his first match, Pietersen hit an unbeaten triple ton for Surrey, which was also the highest score of his career. He then met representatives of the English Board soon after the knock, including Andrew Strauss, the director of cricket.

However, the officials were not impressed and Pietersen was left high and dry. An injury soon after forced him to skip the remaining IPL season.

This time, Pietersen will be playing for the newly-formed Rising Pune Supergiants. He has not just runs to score but a few points to prove.

“I am in a great frame of mind now. I enjoy myself and don’t take life too seriously,” said Pietersen, who scored 323 runs for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash. His efforts in the tournament saw them reach the final. He replicated his form while playing in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) with 215 runs, seeing the Quetta Gladiators through to the final.

“I still train hard and love batting, I love practicing my batting, I love the art of batting. It may not guarantee me getting runs, but it gives me a good chance to get runs.”

His life as a freelance T20 player has been one of the highlights of T20 leagues. His absence from international tournaments has hardly made a difference to his popularity each time he bats for a team in a league.

“There is no issue at all (jumping from one league to another). I am very lucky that I have played international cricket for 10 years and over 100 Test matches. So when you walk into a dressing room, it is very easy to get along with people because you know most of them,” he said.