If England wants, I will play in T20 World Cup: Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen was man of the tournament when England won the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean two years ago AFP

Birmingham: June 11, 2012

Kevin Pietersen said he still wanted to help England defend their World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka in September, despite announcing his retirement from limited overs internationals.

The South Africa-born batsman was man of the tournament when England won the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean two years ago.

But he quit all limited overs internationals last week when he was told by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) the terms of his England central contract would not allow him his wish of abandoning 50-over one-day matches while still playing Twenty20 fixtures for his adopted country.

“I’ve said I’ll play the T20 World Cup,” Pietersen explained. “If they (England) want me to play the T20 World Cup, I’ll play the T20 World Cup.

“But contracts are contracts. They’d have to change the rules to make that happen.”

Pietersen, who also plays in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), was adamant it was no longer possible for him to perform to his best in all three international formats in what is an increasingly congested programme

“I’d had enough of the schedule. I can’t carry on doing everything. I play every single form of cricket that there is.

“Apart from (India captain) MS Dhoni, I’ve played the most days of international cricket over the past seven years.

“There comes a time when some form of the game has to be taken out of my schedule. One-day cricket was it.

“If the schedules weren’t like that, or I played for another country where you had months and months occasionally to rest and recuperate, or if I had the opportunities to be rested (things might be different), but you don’t get those opportunities when you play for England.”

The 31-year-old Pietersen insisted: “I can’t play at my peak — I can’t keep on playing every single game and enjoying every single game — when I have to play every single form of cricket, or when I have to train every single day.

“You fall out of love with it. And I want to play cricket until I’m 35.”

Pietersen was speaking after making a fluent 78 in England’s total of 221 for five in reply to the West Indies first innings 426 on the fourth day of the third Test at Edgbaston here on Sunday.

This match is now set to be Pietersen’s last on England duty until the Test series against his native South Africa starts at The Oval, his Surrey home ground, on July 19.

He will miss the three-match one-dayers and stand-alone Twenty20 against the West Indies, as well as a separate five-match one-day series with Australia.

“There’s not a chance I’ll have mixed feelings about missing that,” he said.

“I’ll be enjoying time off with my family,” added the married father of a young son.

“If I wanted to play in those matches against Australia, I would have.”

Pietersen said he wanted to draw a line under his England one-day exit.

“I’ve moved on and don’t want to talk about it, because it’s done and dusted and unfair to this Test for me to create headlines talking about it.

“I hope this will extend my Test career. I could do with hundreds.

“But, the way I’m batting, if I continue like that for rest of my career I’ll go okay,” said Pietersen, who already has an impressive 20 Test tons to his credit and averages nearly fifty in the five-day game.

Meanwhile Pietersen predicted Twenty20 cricket would, eventually, erase 50-over matches from the international calendar.

“I see T20 taking over from 50 over. It’s fun, it’s exciting — people come and watch it.”(AFP)