'I deserve England place' - Pietersen
"I want my England place and I think I deserve my England place." Kevin Pietersen wasted no time in stating his case after a spectacular, unbeaten triple-century - the highest score of his career - increased the clamour for the ECB to reverse the decision made to sack him more than a year ago.
Pietersen confirmed he would meet with Andrew Strauss - his former England team-mate and the ECB's newly appointed director of cricket - and Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, on Monday evening for a meeting that could prove critical in determining his international future. "That is a private matter. There is a meeting this evening but I am not one for giving anything away," Pietersen said.
"I was thinking about it while batting and, given the pressure I was under this morning, that is one of my best innings I have ever played, purely because I knew that tomorrow there is a press conference and there were things happening this evening. I needed to answer any questions with runs on the deck. Goodness 326 is a pretty good argument."
Pietersen's innings came the day before Strauss was due to be unveiled at Lord's and shortly after Peter Moores' removal as head coach. Giles Clarke, an implacable opponent, is also about to be replaced as ECB chairman.
"They say timing is everything. Strauss has come in, there is a new chairman on Friday and there has to be a new coach now Moores has gone and it is an interesting time," Pietersen said. "What more can I do? I was told to get a county, I was told to score runs and I have always said since my knee was sorted that if my knee is good I will play well. I am not being paid any money here and I am dedicated to getting my England place back.
"As a batter you get judged on hundreds you get. I always wanted to get 50 first-class hundreds and to have ticked that off as well today was pretty special. The more you bat the better you see the ball and because of the fields they placed with every man on the boundary for two hours it was about managing my patience."
Have witnessed one of the most incredible innings ever seen from @KP24 today. Those who saw it were privileged to something v special. #326*— Alec Stewart (@StewieCricket) May 11, 2015
He also praised the batting of Chris Tremlett and Matt Dunn, who he shared century partnerships with. "It is not just the 300 runs I got," he said. "There are two Surrey lads there who have been outstanding today. I just had a beer with them upstairs because you do not get anywhere without your team-mates and they were outstanding today."
But Pietersen confirmed that he would go to play in the last stages of the IPL should Sunrisers Hyderabad qualify - something made more likely by their victory over Kings XI Punjab on Monday. "If they get to the play-offs then I think I will go next week," he said.
Pietersen was particularly enthusiastic when asked about the possibility of Jason Gillespie being appointed as Moores' successor as England coach. "All the Yorkshire guys I have spoken to have said he is a brilliant man manager, he is very relaxed, he is not in your face but he does the right things," Pietersen said.
"He is a strict disciplinarian, which you need to be to do your job. If you want to go out there and take wickets or score runs you have to be a strict disciplinarian. I have done that my whole career. I have never missed a bus or worn the wrong clothes. I have always trained hard because I want to be successful on the field. I don't know who is going to get the job but I am willing to work with whoever gets the job."
Tim Wigmore is a freelance journalist and author of Second XI: Cricket in its Outposts