Moody backs Pietersen for England

Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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England have been warned they would be “foolish” to give up on Kevin Pietersen’s hopes of a Test return, as he bids to restate his case with Surrey.

It was the understanding of Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad – who agreed to release him from the majority of his contract – that allowed the record-breaking batsman to complete his negotiations for a new deal with Surrey.

Advice for England is also forthcoming from the Sunrisers coach Tom Moody, who was not about to stand in the way of Pietersen’s attempt to revive his famous if controversial international career.

Moody believes – as long as the 34-year-old makes a success of his return to The Oval, and demonstrates his continued fitness too – England cannot afford to ignore him.

Surrey sense Pietersen’s dream of an England recall in time for this summer’s Ashes in July, having been sacked after the 2013/14 whitewash defeat in Australia, can work significantly to their advantage with “big runs”.

The potential gain for Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart is the Sunrisers’ loss – although Pietersen will join them for the brief IPL knockout stages, should they progress that far.

Moody, in any case, is sure he and his colleagues have made the right decision.

“A player of such stature on and off the field is a big loss to any side – particularly given he’s got so much to prove, and had such a good ‘Big Bash’,” the former Australia all-rounder told Cricinfo.

“It’s disappointing, but we also recognise his personal situation – and I don’t think you can ever step in the way of anyone’s real desire to want to continue, or at least pursue, their international dream.”

There have been very mixed messages from the England and Wales Cricket Board about Pietersen’s chances of resuming his Test career – but Moody insists they will be wise to give him a chance.

“There’s a lot of water that has to pass under the bridge first, and that includes him showing he’s going to be regularly fit for long periods of time,” he said.

“He needs to also prove his form.

“If you put those two things together, I think England would be foolish not to consider him as a genuine option.

“You can’t help but admire his motivation to try to scale Everest again in Test cricket.”

Moody anticipates a successful return to The Oval for Pietersen.

“I think there is (just) a small chance,” he said, of a Test recall.

“But I think that’s enough to motivate him to want to try everything he possibly can to finish of unfinished business.

“I think that’s how he looks at it … as he still has a chapter of his international career to go, that was cut short.

“I think his motivation is going to be very high, purely because he’s got an agenda … to score as many runs as he possibly can to make it near on impossible for the selectors to ignore him.

“It’s not going to be easy … but he’s got higher things on his list to address.”

Pietersen was described by ECB managing director Paul Downton as “disengaged” with his team-mates as they descended to a heavy defeat in his final Test to date in Sydney.

But Moody thinks it is part of good management to channel the drive in all players.

“I think it’s all part of an exciting, dynamic side if you have those different personalities,” he said.

“We’re not all cut out of the same cloth and I think that needs to be embraced.

“Quite often your very best players are the challenging ones, who push the boundaries.”

Stewart is certainly happy to welcome Pietersen back, for what is initially a contract for LV= County Championship cricket only but may evolve during the season.

He told “To have him back is a big boost for the club.

“He has ambitions to play for England – and to do that, or even be considered, he has to score big runs.

“That’s why we’ve signed him … (so that) he gets those hundreds, those double-hundreds.

“Then after that, it’s down to the (England) selectors.”

Like Moody, Stewart has no qualms from his personal dealings with Pietersen.

“I always judge people how I find them, how they’ve been in and around us, and Kevin’s been outstanding,” he said.

“What’s happened elsewhere, that’s for other people to pass comments on. But when he’s been at Surrey, he’s been outstanding.”

Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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