Bats­man tar­gets sen­sa­tional re­turn af­ter quit­ting IPL

Midweek Sport - - SPORT -

KEVIN PI­ETERSEN has agreed a re­lease from his In­dian Pre­mier League con­tract as he seeks a new deal with Sur­rey to try to reignite his hopes of an Eng­land re­call.

Pi­etersen was axed by Eng­land in Fe­bru­ary 2014 af­ter their white­wash in Australia, but is hop­ing for a sen­sa­tional in­ter­na­tional re­turn in time for this sum­mer’s Ashes re­match.

The 34-year-old con­firmed on his web­site that he has taken a ma­jor step to that end by agree­ing a re­lease from the ma­jor­ity of his con­tract with Sun­ris­ers Hy­der­abad.

Pi­etersen said: “I’m hugely grate­ful for all the sup­port and un­der­stand­ing I’ve re­ceived from ev­ery­one at the Sun­ris­ers and the IPL.

“My fo­cus is now very much on the up­com­ing sea­son in Eng­land, and I’m ab­so­lutely determined to score as many runs as pos­si­ble.”

Sur­rey, who de-reg­is­tered Pi­etersen at the end of last sea­son, are the front-run­ners to re-sign him.

His avail­abil­ity for all for­mats, as soon as pos­si­ble, has ap­peared a start­ing point for that to hap­pen – and Pi­etersen’s pres­ence in early sea­son, rather than spend­ing six weeks at the IPL, is a key devel­op­ment.

New Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board chair­man Colin Graves this month re­vived the record-break­ing bats­man’s hopes of a re­turn to the fold.

But a pre-req­ui­site from Graves was that Pi­etersen must first of all find a way back into county cricket – and then, of course, start scor­ing runs again.

Pi­etersen may still be re­called by the Sun­ris­ers for just a one-week pe­riod, should they qual­ify for the IPL knock­out stages be­tween May 19 and May 24.

But that would not be an in­sur­mount­able prob­lem for any county in­ter­ested in se­cur­ing his ser­vices.

KP added: “I have never made any se­cret of my over­whelm­ing de­sire to once again rep­re­sent Eng­land.

“I’m go­ing to do ev­ery­thing in my power to earn a re­call to the in­ter­na­tional set-up.

“To once again put on that Eng­land shirt would be a priv­i­lege and an hon­our, but now I have to fo­cus on per­form­ing do­mes­ti­cally and give my­self the best pos­si­ble chance of mer­it­ing se­lec­tion.”

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