ER England captain Geoffrey Boycott believes it would be grossly irresponsible for cricket bosses to dangle the prospect of an international renaissance in front of maverick batsman Kevin Pietersen if a recall was not a realistic possibility.
Pietersen was given renewed hope of a comeback on Sunday when new England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves indicated the door was not closed, suggesting the first step towards redemption was a stint in county cricket.
The South African-born 34-year-old was released by Surrey at the end of last season and has not played any form of cricket other than Twenty20 since the fifth Test of last winter’s disastrous Ashes tour, which preceded his England sacking in February 2014.
A stumbling block to Pietersen playing domestic red-ball cricket is his summer contracts to feature in the Indian and Caribbean premier leagues, and Boycott insists England’s cricket chiefs have to play a fair game.
“It’s all right the chairman saying he has to play county cricket,” said Boycott. “But if he does that and gives up a lucrative IPL contract and [ECB managing director] Paul Downton and [national selector] James Whitaker are still not going to pick him, that’s leading him on isn’t it? And that’s not fair.
“It needs to be put clear to him that if he plays well in county cricket then there’s going to be a genuine change of heart and change of opinion that he is going to be open for selection and they are going to put bygones to one side.”
Pietersen has already confirmed his intention to meet with Graves and yesterday appeared open to reconciliation and the prospect of resurrecting his county cricket career in a bid to boost international aspirations.
He tweeted: “Incredibly humbling how supportive you’ve all been since the news broke from Mr Colin Graves. Gonna try work this out for sure.”