Controversial former England skipper Kevin Pietersen has floated the possibility of making a sensational return to international cricket with his native South Africa.
The Pietermaritzburg-born batsman made his England debut during the 2005 Ashes series and proceeded to score 8,181 runs in 104 Tests, at an average of 47.28, for his adopted country.
Pietersen was sacked by the England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] in February 2014 as part of the fallout from the disastrous Ashes series Down Under that winter in which the tourists were whitewashed.
The 35-year-old’s hopes of reprising his role with the England set-up appear extremely remote, although Pietersen admits representing the Proteas – for whom he would become eligible in 2018 – is a consideration.
“Yes, it is a thought in my head,” said Pietersen. “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Obviously, playing international cricket 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 over a year away, so we will have to wait and see but [an England call-up] is definitely still an option.”
Pietersen insists he was given encouragement by incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves prior to last summer’s domestic season that an England recall was not out of the question.
Such hopes were doused by former team-mate Andrew Strauss in one of his first acts as England’s new director of cricket – on the very day Pietersen scored a triple hundred from Surrey.
The big-hitting right-hander has since committed himself to playing Twenty20 cricket in various competitions around the world, which included him notching a top score of 74 for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash final in January.
“I am in a great frame of mind now,” added Pietersen, who is currently playing for Rising Pune Supergiants in the Indian Premier League.
“I enjoy myself and don’t take life too seriously. I still train hard and love batting. I love practising my batting. I love the art of batting. It may not guarantee me getting runs, but it gives me a good chance to get runs.
“I am very lucky that I have played international cricket for 10 years and over 100 Test matches.”