County news August 11, 2014

Pietersen to make Championship return

ESPNcricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen will play just his second County Championship match in two years when he returns to Surrey's four-day side next month, having admitted he has suffered from a lack of matches this year.

Pietersen will play in the NatWest Blast Finals Day on August 23 and will then be available for Surrey's final two Championship matches, against Worcestershire at New Road and Derbyshire at The Oval, in September - a comeback he first confirmed in his Daily Telegraph column last month.

He has so far limited himself to just Twenty20 since being sacked by the ECB in February but has found little success, making only one half-century in 24 innings across the IPL, NatWest T20 Blast and now the Caribbean Premier League.

"I probably should have played a little bit more cricket than I have," Pietersen told All Out Cricket magazine. "If you really want to perform in T20 cricket, I think you need to have your eye in. I do think you need to be playing cricket regularly.

"I found out this year that just playing Friday night games doesn't work, and it is good that I found it out because I am only 34 and I am still going to be playing for another four or five years. And I have understood that I need to play a lot more cricket in order to be successful and that is what I am going to do. And if I am playing in England next year I have to play a lot more cricket to be more successful in the shorter form of the game.

"I find tournaments like the CPL, the Big Bash and IPL - which play a lot - much easier because there is much more time in the environment. You spend 24/7 with the players. In England, playing once a week, it's much harder because playing once a week means you are training once a week. If you are going to attack from ball one you need to have that rhythm to do it."

It is a change of tune from July when Pietersen was asked about the potential for a return to first-class cricket. "No", he said to the prospect, "cricket has never been the issue here. Cricket is not the issue. I've played 104 Test matches - I have enough runs to my name. It's not cricket that is the problem."

His last Championship appearance came in June 2013 when he made an unbeaten 177 for Surrey at Headingley - his only Championship match last season.

"I am going to play in September to try and help Surrey get promoted," Pietersen said. "I have said to Surrey I want to do everything I can to try and help them to get promotion, because I want Surrey to play first division cricket. I love Surrey, they have been fantastic to me, and I want to continue to give back to them because I love the club. I love the players, coaches and the management."

Surrey currently lie second in Division Two of the County Championship, two points ahead of Hampshire but having played a game more. Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan will not be available for the final two matches.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • R on August 13, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    hes just not fit enough (or good enough) anymore… as well as plummeting form he started picking up more injuries plus the test career threatening knee injury nearly 2 years ago… remember that for years he was not playing any short form cricket for Eng to try and protect him… what he is doing now (all these little t20 comps) is all he can do… it happens to us all in the end

  • j on August 12, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    i think he has been pretty honest there. basically he wants the big bucks from the 20/20 leagues but will only be able to earn them if he is playing regularly and can build up some form. As aways with KP it feels like a bit of a business deal. Coincides nicely with Dilshan being unavailabble for the last 2 games so they will want some experience at the top of the order. I wonder how excited he is really going to get about playing meaningless shortform competitions. If Surrey get promoted, might he be tempted to try to play out the season and hel them win something meaningful? IPL is obvisouly different but if he ends up trawling around the world playing all these pointless competitions, I think he will get bored

  • Dummy4 on August 12, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    bit of a break could be good for his longevity, even if confined to CC. Look at Sanga, Misbah, Younis etc, Test players in late 30's and 40's, you can play on into 40s so long as the schedule of international cricket hasn't burned you out, like Sehwag, Ponting and numerous others.

  • Android on August 12, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    buttler??? outside of eng...very few people knew but KP...World famous player...KP is one of the best in the world not only Eng...

  • sam on August 12, 2014, 0:40 GMT

    Well,the new Eng is back up and flying high. The recent winning streak justifies Eng's decision on KP.Theres no way back for him now into this new setup for sure.But of course ,bigger and better challenges await Eng.

  • John on August 12, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    England already has a new guy that gets the fans excited whenever he comes out to bat...his name is Josh Butler! KP?....that's old news now for us die hard England fan. I for one I'm enjoying the new look England cricket team.

  • ian on August 11, 2014, 17:52 GMT

    As I predicted back in April: KP would join in for 4 day cricket if Surrey found themselves in contention for promotion. It's pretty obvious to me that the CC was the way back into form for KP as his contributions in the T2O campaign have been sporadic. If he'd wanted to make a point to the England selectors (and the millions in India who seem to be mesmerised at the mention of his name), he should have given consideration to playing proper cricket many weeks ago. Semi-retirement is never a completely comfortable place to be as a professional cricketer, no matter how gifted.

  • ESPN on August 11, 2014, 17:40 GMT

    I think it's good for him to come back and play 4 day cricket a bit more, I mean it won't get him back in the England side but the majority of cricketers struggle when they aren't playing. Personally I think it's the ECBs fault why he only played T20 most of this year causing him to think that his days were over by sacking him. Bell has done well as no.4 recently like but the team is lacking that higher order member who will come out all guns firing at the start when needed the closest to that is Broad because Butler seems to get settled then strike in test format that's why I say we need Hales in the team as the other opener

  • Rue on August 11, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    orangetable I don't see KP making excuses just being honest about his performances and the reasons why. Everyone has very short memories but then I guess you would say Kohli is past his best because he hasn't performed well this summer or Cook is past his best because he hasn't scored a century for thirty test match innings? anyone who has ever held a bat at any level of cricket will tell you that you need a lot of matches and practice to get and maintain form, time in the middle is vital for a batter. You get no time in T20 games. I'm not surprised KP has not played great playing once a week.

  • colin on August 11, 2014, 16:04 GMT

    Horlicks ! he did play in that one in between earning big bucks in the Caribbean so is he good enough to replace anyone in the Championship side ?

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