Swashbuckling batsman Kevin Pietersen is set to return to India on May 15, to fulfill his obligations for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the latter stages of the IPL 8, after the newly appointed ECB Director Andrew Strauss confirmed that Pietersen doesn’t feature in England’s future plans.
Pietersen, who was told by Colin Graves – the new ECB chairman to play and county cricket and score runs in order to be considered for the national selection, would feel “let down by the way this decision has been made on his career” and Alec Stewart, former England wicket-keeper and Surrey’s Director of Cricket, said that unfortunately for Pietersen, the door has been shut for him.
“He’s given up a £250,000 contract to play in the IPL, he’s done what’s been asked of him and now unfortunately from Kevin’s point of view the door has been shut.”
Stewart, who was also in the race for the ECB’s Director role, said that unlike Strauss, he would not have ruled out Pietersen’s international return.
“I’d want to be able to pick from everyone available. I believe that England should be picking their best players and that would include Kevin Pietersen,” he said. “Part of management is managing difficult players and difficult situations.
“It’s going to be a very tough summer and I, personally, would have said: Right, we’ve got a good middle order at the minute. Ballance, Bell and Root are playing exceptionally well. Kevin, you’re doing what we asked you to do, which is come and play county cricket, come and score runs. If you continue to do that, should there be an injury, a loss or form or a reason to make a change, you’re very much in the frame. No guarantees, but you’re very much in the frame,” he added.
After Pietersen’s stint with SRH in IPL 8, Stewart hopes that he will return for the last two championship games against Lancashire and Leicestershire but as for now, nothing is certain.
“Whether we see him play again for Surrey, I hope so, but it’s got to be right for us and it’s got to be right for Kevin. I hope it’s not the last first-class innings we’ll see in a Surrey shirt,” he concluded.