Pietersen plea could put him in prime position for Surrey

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.

Kevin Pietersen: admits he needs to play more county cricket

Kevin Pietersen: admits he needs to play more county cricket

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.


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  • 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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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