Amid the furore created this week around the publication of Kevin Pietersen’s “autobiography”, which he got someone else to write for him, one twist has been the 34-year-old former England batsman’s realisation that if he really does harbour serious ambitions of playing Test cricket again, then he needs to start playing four-day county matches.
And with a vaccuum at the top of the Surrey hierarchy following the forced retirement through injury of skipper Graeme Smith, Pietersen may make himself an obvious choice as the new county captain.
Inside Croydon suggested Pietersen as a candidate for the captaincy last month. The South African-born batsman already has a working relationship with Surrey’s South African-based coach, Graham Ford, and The Oval’s delay in confirming any permanent appointment for stand-in skipper Gary Wilson suggests that they are still looking at the leadership issue.
That Surrey’s director of cricket Alec Stewart, who is rarely seen as an anti-establishment figure, has “gone in to bat” on Pietersen’s behalf this week is a strong indicator that The Oval is looking to support the most prolific batsman in English cricket history.
With a lucrative Indian Premier League T20 contract, Pietersen confined himself to the short-form of the game last summer, with predictable results as far as his batting form was concerned. Even Pietersen conceded that his lack of four-innings cricket was “a fair argument” when considering his exclusion from Test consideration.
“I do need to sit down and discuss what direction my cricket goes in the next year because I didn’t play well for Surrey this year,” Pietersen said.
“Playing just once a week doesn’t work in Twenty20 cricket. It might if it was Championships cricket but I’m not going to play T20 just once a week,” he said this week. “I have to commit to four-day cricket and being around cricket a lot more if I want to be successful.
“I let down coach Graham Ford, I let down Surrey, I let down the lads and I was heartbroken about it.
“I love the club and I have great relationships with the players. I have to discuss what my future holds in the next month or so.”
For reasons connected with the complicated relationship between cricketers, county sides and the England and Wales Cricket Board, Surrey cancelled Pietersen’s registration on October 1. This avoided the player being subject to ECB disciplinary action over anything published in his controversial book, in which allegations of bullying in the England dressing room and an account of the dismal 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia featured prominently.
Pietersen had signed a one-year deal with Surrey for the 2014 season in which he was due just to play on Friday evening’s in the T20 Blast competition.
By not being registered to a county side, Pietersen is clear to play in the Big Bash for the Melbourne Stars this winter, where he will be paid around £55,000 for a handful of one-day games, and he is looking for a similar deal for the Caribbean T20 franchise and to play for the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League in the spring.
That could present scheduling issues if Pietersen wants to commit to Surrey throughout the 2015 county season, but in any contract negotiation at The Oval, the money on the table could be boosted if he also takes on the captaincy.
Coming to Croydon
- The Goon Show, Spread Eagle Theatre, Oct 8-11
- Upper Norwood Library meeting, Oct 13
- David Lean Cinema: Grand Central, Oct 14
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- David Lean Cinema: Finding Vivian Maier, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- South Croydon business breakfast, Oct 18
- Purley War Memorial Hospital health fair, Oct 18
- David Lean Cinema: Mood Indigo, Oct 23
- This Was The World and I Was King, Spread Eagle, Oct 23-25
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, 2.30pm, Oct 25
- David Lean Cinema: Ilo Ilo, Oct 28
- CODA’s Wind In The Willows, Charles Cryer, Carshalton, Oct 29-Nov 1
- David Lean Cinema: Belle, Oct 30
- NHS free health fair, Central Parade, New Addington, Oct 31
- St Giles School opening morning, Nov 5
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at email@example.com