England's Pietersen dilemma August 30, 2012

Magazine interview rebounds on Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen could find a dated interview comes back to haunt him when he tries to patch up his differences with England.

The ECB hierarchy will try to reach an understanding with Pietersen this weekend when Hugh Morris, England's managing director, and the director of cricket Andy Flower hold what is expected to be the first of several meetings.

As they seek confirmation of Pietersen's absolute commitment to England, they will be met with "fresh" criticism of their negative attitude towards IPL and read that he is revelling in his one-day retirement.

It was a brazenly confident Pietersen who spoke to The Cricketer magazine three weeks before the Headingley Test that brought about his downfall - and as that magazine is published this week, with his picture on the cover, he may cringe in hindsight at his comments.

Pietersen has since sworn allegiance to England in all forms of the game in a YouTube video, without his blandishments being returned, as England play hardball over what they regard as his disloyalty and disruptive influence.

But that love of the English season was not apparent when he spoke to the magazine three weeks before a Headingley Test against South Africa where his behaviour deepened divisions between him and his team-mates and led him to complain that it was "tough being me" in the England dressing room.

The magazine quotes him revelling in his enforced one-day retirement, referring to England's abandoned third ODI against West Indies: "Hey, a game called off in Leeds or 35 degrees on a beach in Portugal? It's a no-brainer."

Pietersen will find consolation in the fact that England's director of cricket, Andy Flower, has also called for an IPL window, but even so his veiled criticism of the ECB's hostile attitude towards the IPL will not please his masters.

"Test cricket is right up there, most definitely," he says, "but IPL and Twenty20 cricket is a matter of fact now. Every board has accepted it apart from the ECB, unfortunately. Some part of international cricket may have to give because the IPL is not going away. No one in their right mind would turn down the contracts I have been offered."

The implication, in his own words, that Pietersen is playing Test cricket largely to ensure his own brand awareness remains high will also leave England's managing director, Hugh Morris, aghast as he determines whether Pietersen can be part of a united dressing room under a new captain, Alastair Cook.

"The best players in Test cricket have got the best contracts in the IPL," he says. "You know that's where you build the brand."

Six weeks might have passed since he made those remarks, but when a new magazine is published, the words reappear as if they are still meant today. It is not about to make his negotiations any easier.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo