England news July 28, 2012

Pietersen linked with BBL deal

Kevin Pietersen is believed to be considering a deal to play in the Big Bash League, with Melbourne Renegades and both Sydney sides - the Sixers and the Thunder - hoping to secure his signature.

According to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, Cricket Australia is also considering employing Pietersen, the England Test batsman, in an ambassadorial role to help promote the competition. Such a move would help circumvent the league salary cap, with Shane Warne employed on a similar basis during the last BBL.

"We're aware that he is interested and we're aware that a couple of teams at least are talking to him, and we're very hopeful that he will sign with a team and play after Christmas," Mike McKenna, Cricket Australia's commercial general manager and the project manager of the BBL, said. "He is definitely one of the top three or four global cricket stars at the moment. He's an explosive batsman, can bowl, and he would bring a charisma to the Big Bash League that would excite us and excite the fans.

"The teams have a salary cap and it's up to them to make sure he's being paid well enough to justify him coming here to play; the issue for us is whether there's a role he can play in promoting the Big Bash League."

Pietersen, player of the tournament when England won the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in 2010, announced his retirement from limited-overs international cricket at the end of May, citing a desire to rest and spend more time with his family. He was subsequently omitted from the 30-man preliminary squad for this year's World T20 - though he can be added to that squad without any complication up until August 18.

While England have no Test commitments in January - they will be engaged in an ODI tour of India - news that Pietersen is considering playing in the BBL will do nothing to dissuade those who believe his international retirement was motivated more by a desire to earn than a desire to rest. Certainly it would be hard to square his comments with his actions: Pietersen has taken several opportunities to criticise England's hectic international schedule and, only a few weeks ago, he insisted "I'm not playing the Big Bash".

Since then it also has emerged that he told the ECB that he would like to spend extra time playing in the IPL (which runs from April 3 to May 26 in 2013), threatening his involvement in next May's Test series between England and New Zealand.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments