Pietersen to agree IPL release

Published: Tuesday 24th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Kevin Pietersen’s plans to return to county cricket with Surrey moved a significant step closer after he endorsed reports that he is about to agree a release from his Indian Premier League contract.

Pietersen, axed by England in February 2014 after their Ashes whitewash in Australia but hoping for a still unlikely international recall, retweeted an update in the Daily Telegraph announcing the Sunrisers Hyderabad are preparing imminently to release him from his IPL commitments with them over the next two months.

That will be a key development as the record-breaking 34-year-old batsman seeks a new deal with Surrey – who de-registered him at the end of last season.

New England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves reignited Pietersen’s hopes of a return to the fold, contrary to the public remarks by anyone else associated with the governing body.

But a pre-requisite from Graves was that Pietersen must first of all find a way back into county cricket – and then, of course, start scoring runs again.

The starting point for Surrey has seemed to be his availability for all formats, starting as soon as possible.

A release from the IPL contract Pietersen secured at this year’s auction last month will therefore be a major breakthrough for both parties.

The situation depicted in the Daily Telegraph – for whom Pietersen is a big-name columnist – is that negotiations can soon be concluded for him to return to The Oval.

Pietersen quickly made it clear he was delighted to take Graves at his word, that the slate will be wiped clean for all under his tenure, and has confirmed since he has already spoken to the incoming chairman on the telephone.

The controversial South Africa-born batsman has received little encouragement yet from other quarters.

After Pietersen’s sacking, ECB managing director Paul Downton pinpointed ‘disengagement’ with his team-mates during his last Test match to date – the defeat in Sydney which consigned England to their 5-0 2013/14 Ashes whitewash.

Downton has not shifted from that in the intervening months.

When England announced their squad last week, to travel under Alastair Cook and without Pietersen for three Tests in the West Indies, national selector James Whitaker repeated many times that he is simply “not part of our plans”.

Pietersen, however, has said he will “do anything” – at the start of an Ashes year – to play for England again.

Published: Tuesday 24th March 2015 by The News Editor

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