Best days not behind me – Pietersen

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Published: Tuesday 17th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Kevin Pietersen is confident he can score more Test hundreds for England, if he is given the opportunity.

The controversial, record-breaking batsman trails only captain Alastair Cook in the all-time list of England’s most prolific Test centurions – having made 23, before he was sacked 13 months ago.

The 34-year-old is hoping to resurrect his career with his adopted country after new England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves hinted that a return to county cricket – and first-class form – may put him back in the reckoning after all.

Pietersen is therefore pursuing the possibility of securing a new contract in this country.

Surrey, who de-registered him six months ago after a summer in which he played only Twenty20 cricket, appear to be strong favourites to re-engage him – as long as he can secure a release from his arrangement to play in the Indian Premier League, which clashes with the start of the English domestic season.

Pietersen was axed after England’s 2013/14 Ashes whitewash defeat, and ECB managing director Paul Downton subsequently described his ‘disengagement’ with his team-mates.

He struggled for form, and fitness, in the summer that followed but rediscovered both for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash this winter.

On his return to Australia, to commentate on the knockout stages of the World Cup, he made it clear in an interview on Fox Sports on Tuesday that he believes he can excel again for England.

“I don’t think my best days are behind me.

“I thought I batted as well as I’ve ever batted in my career in Australia a few months ago.

“I think that’s nonsense – I reckon I’ve still got quite a few Test hundreds in me.”

England appeared to have severed all ties with the South Africa-born batsman, until Graves recently indicated otherwise.

Pietersen’s autobiography, in which he depicted a culture of bullying in the England dressing-room and was highly critical of former team-mates and management staff, seemed to merely confirm a permanent split.

Former England batting coach Graham Gooch, for one, is still warning against his return.

“I wouldn’t bring Pietersen back,” he told the Evening Standard.

“I would question whether he would have made that much of a difference in the World Cup.

“His record for England over his career has been box office. But his performances in ODI cricket before this tournament weren’t special.

“Kevin Pietersen did some great things for England, make no mistake. But now it’s time to move on.”

Gooch, on staff during England’s Ashes defeat down under, takes particular issue with some of the content of Pietersen’s autobiography – published last October.

“I vehemently disagree with all the things Kevin Pietersen said.

“That’s not the dressing-room I remember.

“In November 2013, he was given a memento by the players for his 100th Test in the dressing-room before the first Test at Brisbane.

“Then he stated ‘This is the best England environment I have ever played in’.

“Those words came out of his mouth. He’s changed his tune just a bit.”

Published: Tuesday 17th March 2015 by The News Editor

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