England's Pietersen dilemma August 11, 2012

Pietersen 'fully committed' to England


Kevin Pietersen may have pulled off a career-saving performance as outrageous as anything he has achieved on the pitch by unconditionally committing himself to play for England in all formats of the game and apologising for the behaviour that led to speculation about dressing room rifts and his premature retirement.

In another development late on Saturday, the ECB announced that the squad for the third Test against South Africa would be delayed until 2.30pm on Sunday having originally been set for 9.30am, inviting the belief that England's selectors, having picked the squad for the final Test at Lord's, had been forced back into an emergency session.

Pietersen, who was facing the prospect of being dropped by England following a series of incidents that appeared to have driven a wedge between him and the rest of the England team, has retracted his request to play a full IPL season, reversed his retirement from international limited-overs cricket and withdrawn many of the comments he made in an emotional press conference following the second Test at Leeds. In a personally arranged video interview, Pietersen expressed his unconditional return for England in all forms of the game.

"I want to commit to all forms of cricket for England because I love playing for England," Pietersen said. "I am wanting to play all three forms of cricket again for England: the ODIs against South Africa in a couple of weeks and the T20 World Cup if I am selected. I want to make myself available for every single format of cricket for England.

"I am absolutely not insisting on playing the full IPL season. I am taking that all back. I will not be playing the full IPL. I will come back and play in the Tests against New Zealand next year.

"I've realised what is important to be. I've realised I can be happy. I've realised how much I love playing for England. I've realised that the last three or four days would be a sad way to go after all the happiness I've enjoyed. I'd hate to leave playing for England and I'd hate to leave all the spectators and fans this way.

"The stubbornness I've got sometimes - which is probably not a good thing as well - has led me to try to believe myself for too long and I've got to a point now where I've gone: play for England. This is what you love and this is what I want to do.

"I am fully committed and passionate about playing for England. I want to play for England. That is why I want to get back playing in all three formats of the game for England. I love doing what I do and I don't want to disappoint people.

"I've had a change of heart because of the reasons I stated. I love playing cricket for England.

"Money is not everything to me. I love winning for England. I loved the runs I scored at Headingley. I can't wait to play in Straussy's 100th Test next week. These things make me happy. Winning makes me happy.

"I understand that I have a short career. I can't do this until I'm 40. I have a young family and I'm the provider. I need to maximise my opportunities financially in order to have protection in later life. It's not all about money. I love playing for England and the runs I score for England mean so much more to me."

Pietersen accepted that his comments in Monday night's press conference following the second South Africa Test at Leeds had been emotional and unhelpful, but said he had held long discussions with a teammate in which many problems had been resolved.

"There's a press conference I did on Monday which I didn't handle in the right way," Pietersen said. "I was very emotional. I am who I am. I do make mistakes.

"The mood in the dressing room, in the last 24 hours, has been sorted out. I had a really good long chat with a team-mate of mine yesterday. We went through everything. We went through differences. We went through everything. I finished that conversation a very happy bloke and somebody who can't wait to meet with the team on Tuesday.

"I didn't handle the press conference well at all. I was in an emotional state. I did think there was a possibility it might be my penultimate Test. I said things I shouldn't have said. I know I have to clear things up. I want to clear things up.

"I need to pull towards the team. The team will need to pull towards me. I believe, in the last 24 hours, that's been done."

Words are one thing, of course. It is Pietersen's actions that will be scrutinised over the coming weeks and months by a dressing room that is somewhat jaded by recent events. There will be those in England's limited-overs teams, in particular, whose own positions are jeopardised by Pietersen's return. The World T20 team was picked at Edgbaston on Friday and must be announced by August 18. Whether Pietersen's backtracking has come in time remains to be seen.

But there can be no doubt that any England team is considerably strengthened by a Pietersen that feels respected, needed and appreciated. The brinksmanship between the ECB and Pietersen took their relationship to the edge over recent days but, once again, the uncompromising attitudes of Andy Flower would appear to have been vindicated.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alan Bain on August 14, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    We didn't poach KP! The guy who signed him for notts in 2001 was Clive Rice (then the coach of Notts). he was unkown then no other county would have signed him. if Saffers want to blame someone blame Rice. oh and didn't the Saffies poach imran tahir? people in glasshouses...

  • Peter on August 13, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    Only just managed to see the video now. Only knew of it when hearing he'd been dropped yesterday morning. Why has it been described in some media as an apology? There was NO apology! Only a mealie-mouthed, contrived belly-ache aimed over the heads of the team, the captain, coach & ECB. In other words, aimed directly at the media or, more pertinently, his (I ask you - "HIS"!) fans. He imagines some personal fanbase unconnected with England cricket followers. If I had been the ECB I'd have sacked him as soon as I learned of this video, quite apart from what later transpired with regard to those texts. Contrast the maturity, balance, fairness, unselfishness & leaership qualities of Flower & Strauss, who are the architects of England' rise since the Pietersen/Moores debacle. Jeopardise that team ethos & throw away the lot. Bye bye KP - good riddance. Being a good (not great) atsman is uttelry irrelevan. Lose to SA? So what? I'd lose 3-0 if it meant seeing the end of this twit.

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    calm down KP..Entertaine us with your flamboyant strokeplay..

  • ken on August 13, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    KP needs to grow up. These temper tantrums are indicative of a baby wanting candy at twelve in the night. Right after the screams and uncontrollable sobbing comes the peaceful restful angelic sleep. Grow up KP! You have a family now, stop embarrassing them... I can just imagine his personal life beyond cricket... It must be tough being his room mate. Is it any surprise he waited until his century in the last test before he started this latest saga? It's the same thing he did after his performance against WI when he retired from limited overs cricket... now if he was playing for WI he would have been a goner for sure. Just ask Chris Gail.

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    KP will be back for england in all formats......!

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    no one is bigger than national pride ....

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    KP is adding controversial media attention towards himself, and has become a version of Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar in a nutshell. I think he should calm down a bit, England is already under a lot of flak being unable to defend their no.1 Test status.

  • Junaid on August 13, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    thanks to IPL for creating this mess....more to follow

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Very disappointed with ECB decision to left out KP. he is match winner...................

  • Rob on August 13, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    KP handled the situation very mature I feel. Saying this. Saying that, is what every man aspires to do. To think he one time was the england captain is very hard to believe. I expect the ECB will return the favour by handling the same situation with the same maturity and toy with Pietrsen like a cat does with a mouse. I can't wait to see the sequel of this soap!

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