Pietersen likely to give up IPL contract to play county

Tuesday 17th March 2015 13:23 EDT

Kevin Pietersen is likely to give up his Indian Premier League contract as he intends to play county cricket in a bid to win an England recall in time for this year's Ashes. Although six counties have expressed an interest in signing Pietersen, he might turn up for his former county Surrey.

The move comes after conciliatory comments made by Colin Graves, the incoming chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, earlier this month. "The first thing he has to do if he wants to get back is start playing county cricket," Graves had said. "If he does that and scores a lot of runs they can't ignore him I would have thought, but that is up to him. The selectors and the coaches are not going to pick him if he's not playing. It's as simple as that. I'll leave it at that."

Pietersen, 34, has not played for England since the ECB effectively called time on his international career following the disastrous Ashes tour of 2013-14. But with England out of the World Cup and the batsman having spoken of his eagerness to return to the team, Graves' stand could open the door for a dramatic comeback. And with opportunity knocking, Pietersen appears eager to kick the door down.

He was picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the February auctions for his base price of Rs 20 million. The IPL 2015 starts on April 9 and runs until May 24, three days after the start of England's first Test of the summer against New Zealand at Lord's. He also turns out for St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League and made his presence felt at the Big Bash League with Mebourne Stars.

Pietersen, who was upset over a parody Twitter account, had sent "provocative" texts concerning Andrew Strauss, then the England captain, to the opposition South African players, and was dropped from the side. He was later "reintegrated" before the tour of India where England won a Test series after 28 years.

Pietersen's second coming, however, ended abruptly after he was dropped from the team in February last year following England's 5-0 Ashes rout. He subsequently released an autobiography in a blaze of publicity claiming the England dressing room had been beset by a bullying culture.

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