Kevin Pietersen must score a lot of runs playing county cricket if he wants to be considered to play for England again.
While England have been humiliated for the second time at the World Cup, losing by nine wickets to Sri Lanka, the controversial Pietersen, regarded as one of their best ever batsman, just finished a holiday in the Caribbean.
He will be joining the BBC’s radio commentary team after the pool stage of the tournament.
Colin Graves, who replaces Giles Clarke as ECB chairman in May, told BBC Five Live’s Sportsweek on Sunday that the first thing the 34-year-old Pietersen must do ‘is play county cricket for somebody’ in a bid to force the hands of the selectors.
He then told the Telegraph: ‘If he does that and then comes out and scores a lot of runs they can’t ignore him I would have thought. But that is up to him. You can’t pick someone when he is not playing.’
Pietersen responded by saying he wants to meet with the governing body to discuss a possible return.
‘I was pleasantly surprised this morning, actually. The previous chat was clearly that I had been banned from playing for England and that I’d never play again, which for me was incredibly sad because I do feel that my England career was cut short and taken away from me,’ Pietersen told Sky Sports.
‘It’s come as a pleasant surprise but one that I’ll need to think through. I’ll definitely want to speak to the ECB. Let’s just be clear: I’d love to play for England again.’
Pietersen has not played for his country since his central contract was cancelled in February 2014 in the aftermath the 5-0 Ashes defeat to Australia.
But an ECB spokesman later sought to clarify the comment made by Graves, adding: ‘Colin Graves is correct. Nothing has changed – only players who are playing consistent high-quality county cricket and who are seen as a positive influence will be selected for England.’
Graves, who was previously ECB deputy chairman, has made no secret of the fact he backed the decision to sack Pietersen at the time. England coach Peter Moores is currently in his second spell in charge, having lost the job originally in early 2009 along with then-captain Pietersen after a breakdown in the duo’s working relationship.
Managing director Paul Downton, who instigated the cancelling of his central contract last February, remains in position, as does National selector James Whittaker, who previously went on record to say there was ‘no way Kevin Pietersen will ever get back into an England team’.