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London: Mar 29, 2014
England exile Kevin Pietersen‘s career as a freelance cricketer for hire is set to take him to the West Indies after the star batsman announced on Friday that he has entered the draft for this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
Despite being England’s leading run-scorer in all international formats, Pietersen saw his international career dramatically terminated after the team’s recent 5-0 Ashes hammering in Australia.
Controversially, the England and Wales Cricket Board refused to cite their specific reasons for ditching Pietersen, referring only to a team “rebuilding” and a need for loyalty to Test captain, Alastair Cook.
Since then, Pietersen has agreed to captain the Delhi Daredevils in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), like the CPL a Twenty20 event, and re-signed for English county side Surrey, where he is available to play in all formats.
“I’m delighted to be involved in this year’s Caribbean Premier League,” Pietersen said.
“As soon as I was approached, I knew it was something I wanted to take part in.
“I have fantastic memories of playing T20 cricket in the Caribbean — especially when we (England) won the 2010 ICC World T20 tournament — so I can’t wait to play in front of the magnificent Caribbean fans who create a truly unique and thrilling atmosphere.”
Pietersen also tweeted to his friend Chris Gayle, the dynamic batsman currently opening for the West Indies in the ICC World T20 2014 in Bangladesh, saying: “Delighted to enter the Draft for @CPL_T20 next week. Will we be rivals or teammates, @henrygayle?”
The draft, which will see six franchises select from a pool of over 200 players, takes place in a bar owned by Gayle in Jamaica on Thursday.
But the fact the CPL is scheduled for July and August means it will clash with English county cricket’s domestic Twenty20 competition.
However, a Surrey spokesman told AFP on Friday the Oval-based county had no problems with Pietersen missing some of their Twenty20 matches.
“We knew what was happening. It’s not a concern at all. Kevin’s been in this week and is committed to Surrey.”
Pietersen will be among friends at The Oval with Surrey having hired Graham Ford, who has known him since he was a boy in South Africa, as their new coach.
“I have known Kevin for a long time and I’ve always found him to be a very positive individual and I’m sure he’s going to be extremely positive in our dressing room,” Ford said on Monday.
Meanwhile, Surrey cricket director and former England captain Alec Stewart also refuted suggestions Pietersen wasn’t a team player.
“Whenever he (Pietersen) has been here with Surrey he’s been outstanding,” Stewart said.
“The way he’s conducted himself within the dressing room and the training ground has been a credit to him and he has set high examples for the rest of our team to follow.”
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