Pietersen and England need swift Twenty20 resolution

Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen

First published in International

England and Kevin Pietersen must conclude their reported negotiations quickly if he is to feature after all in the defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown.

The former Hampshire batsman ended his limited-overs career for England when he announced his shock retirement from the shorter formats of international cricket, at the age of just 31, earlier this summer.

He wanted to call time only on 50-over cricket, and carry on in Twenty20, but the terms of England and Wales Cricket Board central contracts prevent players picking and choosing their formats.

Since then the South Africa-born batsman, player of the tournament when England won their first International Cricket Council global trophy at the World Twenty20 in the West Indies two years ago, appears to have had a rethink.

According to reports, which depicts meetings between Pietersen's representatives and ECB management, the aim is a compromise deal to allow his return to limited-overs cricket.

Should that be the case, he will have missed just one Twenty20 - an England victory over West Indies, in which Alex Hales made a match-winning 99 in his opening position - and two ODI series.

In those, England beat the Windies 2-0 and then Australia 4-0 - in his absence taking their winning run to 10 successive matches and within one of their all-time record.

The snag for Pietersen, though, is that he and England must act fast to meet an ICC deadline at the end of next week to name their initial 30-man squad for this year's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September.

All participants must submit that provisional list to the world governing body by then, and at least two have already done so.

Replacements after that point are allowed only to cover the absence of players subsequently injured, and do not permit late changes due to circumstances such as Pietersen's.


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