Batsman targets sensational return after quitting IPL
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.”