KP: Harmonious dressing room is not essential

Ross McLean
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Pietersen has not played Test cricket since his central contract was terminated last February
ENGLAND exile Kevin Pietersen insists a harmonious dressing room is not a pre-requisite for success as the maverick batsman continues his bid to make an unlikely return to the international realm.

The 34-year-old’s central contract was cancelled in February 2014 in the wake of a disastrous Ashes whitewash Down Under, where Pietersen was cited as a disruptive presence in the camp.

Claim and counterclaim followed the publication of his controversial book last October, but Pietersen was recently handed an international lifeline by incoming England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves.

ECB managing director Paul Downton has regularly commented upon Pietersen’s “disengagement” with teammates, although the South African-born batsman believes a team does not have to be the best of friends.

“I know sides around the world at the moment, there’s blokes who can’t stand each other,” said Pietersen. “I know the greatest Australian side, there were blokes in it who couldn’t stand each other. But when you go over the line you perform and you do the business because that’s your job.”

Pietersen is currently pushing to secure his release from contractual obligations, having signed for Sunrisers Hyderabad ahead of the forthcoming Indian Premier League, as he looks to pursue a return to the domestic game.

Surrey de-registered him at the end of last season after a campaign focused solely on Twenty20 cricket but have emerged as favourites to re-sign the big-hitting right-hander.

Having struggled for form and fitness since his England sacking, Pietersen rediscovered both during a stint with the Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League, a period which he believes is proof he can excel on the international stage once more.

“I don’t think my best days are behind me,” he added. “I thought I batted as well as I’ve ever batted in Australia a few months ago. I reckon I’ve still got quite a few Test hundreds in me.”