Cricket: Kevin Pietersen eyes Proteas switch

Kevin Pietersen would be eligible to play for South Africa in 2018. Picture: Getty

Kevin Pietersen would be eligible to play for South Africa in 2018. Picture: Getty

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FORMER England batsman Kevin Pietersen has refused to rule out a spectacular return to Test cricket with his native South Africa.

Born in Pietermaritzburg, Pietersen left South Africa 16 years ago and scored 8,181 runs at an average of 47.28 in 104 Tests for England after making his debut during the 2005 Ashes.

He was sacked by England in 2014 following the Ashes whitewash in Australia, becoming a much-travelled Twenty20 specialist as a result.

But while the 35-year-old still harbours unlikely hopes of representing England on the international stage again in the future, he has also considered a dramatic Test comeback with South Africa. He would be eligible to play for them in 2018, despite recent reservations from Faf du
Plessis.

In February the Proteas’ T20 skipper pointed out Pietersen was “English” when asked about the possibility of him representing the country of his birth.

But in quotes on Cricket Australia’s website, Pietersen said: “Yes, it is a thought in my head. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Obviously, playing international is something I have done for a very long time.

“Do I miss playing international cricket? Do I miss batting in international cricket? Yes I do, very much, so you never know.

“The eligibility for South Africa is still [more than] a year away. So we will have to wait and see but [an England call-up] is definitely still an option.”

After his sacking by England, Pietersen again hit the headlines by releasing an autobiography containing a series of controversial claims.

England and Wales Cricket Board’s incoming chairman Colin Graves gave the right-hander hope of an England lifeline last year when stating he needed to play county cricket.

But having relinquished an Indian Premier League contract in favour of signing for Surrey, and then staking a claim with a triple century against Leicestershire, Pietersen was not considered for a recall by new ECB director and former team-mate Andrew Strauss.

If a return to international cricket does not arise, with England or South Africa, Pietersen is happy travelling the world playing T20s. “I am in a great frame of mind now,” Pietersen added. “I enjoy myself and don’t take life too seriously.

“I still train hard and love batting. I am very lucky that I have played international cricket for ten years and over 100 Test matches.”

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