Pi­etersen eyes Ashes re­turn

Sunday Express - - EXPRESS SPORT -

Pi­etersen to score runs in county cricket.

Speak­ing in his ca­pac­ity as a tMS pun­dit, Pi­etersen said: “i have had con­ver­sa­tions with the chair­man but i think what we need to do is sit down and do it face to face. i don’t think me speak­ing on a tele­phone is the way for­ward in mak­ing big de­ci­sions.

“i love what Colin Graves has done for York­shire. it’s an ex­cit­ing time so to be part of that would be amaz­ing.”

Graves’s stance has prompted Pi­etersen to re­think his pri­or­i­ties for 2015.

he is ne­go­ti­at­ing his re­lease from a con­tract to play for Sun­ris­ers hy­der­abad in the in­dian Pre­mier League (iPL) and hold­ing talks with county team Sur­rey - but sug­gested that noth­ing will be signed un­til he re­ceives as­sur­ances over his Eng­land fu­ture.

“it is still a work in progress,” he said. “i won’t be rush­ing into any­thing.

“i’ve got an in­cred­i­bly busy sched­ule this year but i’m will­ing to put stuff on hold and make sure i make the right de­ci­sion. i’ll do any­thing to play for Eng­land if i can get a fair crack at it, for sure.”

Eng­land travel to the West in- dies for a three-test tour in April be­fore host­ing New Zealand for two tests in May.

But Pi­etersen’s prime mo­ti­va­tion is the prospect of play­ing against Australia again in the Ashes in July and Au­gust.

“it does make me hun­gry,” said Pi­etersen, who has won four and lost two Ashes se­ries from 2005 on­wards.

“Up un­til two weeks ago there was no chance in a cou­ple of peo­ple’s minds that i would have the op­por­tu­nity to come back and try to avenge the 5-0 de­feat,” he said.

“Play­ing in­ter­na­tional cricket is some­thing i’ve dreamt of as a child. Given an op­por­tu­nity it’s like be­ing re­born or start­ing a ca­reer again.”

Pi­etersen’s big­gest ob­sta­cle may lie within the Eng­land team. he was crit­i­cal of sev­eral play­ers in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy last year, while test cap­tain Alas­tair Cook said last week that a Pi­etersen come­back was “very un­likely”.

Asked about his re­la­tion­ships with his for­mer team-mates, Pi­etersen in­sisted he re­mained on good terms with sev­eral Eng­land play­ers.

“there are so many of the guys in that side who are my real bud­dies,” he added.

“it has been frus­trat­ing over the last 12 months to get mes­sages and lit­tle bits of in­for­ma­tion from the dress­ing room ask­ing me ‘how would you do this and that?’

“i’d pre­fer to be out there help­ing them, be­ing the se­nior bat­ter who can go out there and hope­fully carry Eng­land through ses­sions and be pos­i­tive and take the attack to op­po­si­tions.”

the lat­ter part of Pi­etersen’s Eng­land ca­reer was dogged by in­juries to his Achilles ten­don and knee.

Since his last Eng­land ap­pear­ance, in the Syd­ney Ashes test in Jan­uary 2014, he has only played twenty20 cricket.

But he found form in the Big Bash in Australia, hit­ting 293 runs in eight innings, and is feel­ing good about his fit­ness.

“Look at the way i bat­ted in Australia,” said Pi­etersen, who scored 8,181 runs in 104 tests. “that has given me so much con­fi­dence.

“if my knee was as sore as it was last year then i prob­a­bly wouldn’t have had the con­fi­dence i do now to know i will con­tinue to do a good job.

“i’m very lucky to have had the in­ter­na­tional ca­reer that i’ve had. i’m very proud of my num­bers but i’d love to add to them.”


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