South Africa news April 10, 2016

Pietersen giving South Africa career 'a thought'

ESPNcricinfo staff

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Cullinan: No chance of KP playing for South Africa

Kevin Pietersen has admitted trying to return to international cricket by playing for South Africa is "a thought in my head."

Pietersen would become eligible for South Africa in 2018 - four years after his England career was ended following the 2013-14 Ashes when he was sacked by the ECB - at which point he would be 37 years old. The chance of appearing at the 2019 World Cup, to be held in England, could appeal to him.

The notion of an unlikely international return for the country of his birth was first suggested by Darren Gough, a close friend of Pietersen, and it has not been completely dismissed.

"Yes, it is a thought in my head," Pietersen said as he began his latest stint at the IPL. "If it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't. Obviously, playing international is something I have done for a very long time.

"Do I miss playing international cricket? Do I miss batting in international cricket? Yes, I do very much so you never know. The eligibility for South Africa is still a year away. So we will have to wait and see but it is definitely still an option."

One of the major fallouts during Pietersen's England career came during the 2012 series against South Africa when he sent derogatory texts about then captain Andrew Strauss to Graeme Smith.

He was left out for the final Test of that series before returning in India, where he helped win the series, before a year later relationships unravelled again during the Ashes whitewash which came to a head when Paul Downton, then the managing director of England cricket, said he had never seen a player so "disengaged" from his team.

Earlier this year, when Pietersen was initially linked with South Africa, their T20 captain Faf du Plessis was quick to play down the suggestion. "KP is a player who's had a great career for England. But certainly, from a South African perspective... he's English," he said.

Last week, Alec Stewart, the Surrey director of cricket, said that Pietersen was unlikely to appear in English cricket again as he focuses on overseas T20 leagues. It was almost a year ago that Pietersen made an unbeaten 355 for Surrey before being told later the same day by Strauss, England's newly installed director of cricket, that he would not be recalled by England.

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