KP still harbours England ambition

Andover Advertiser: Kevin Pietersen does not appear to have given up hope of playing for England again Kevin Pietersen does not appear to have given up hope of playing for England again

Kevin Pietersen remains hopeful his England exile will one day come to an end but insists he does not need to play more four-day cricket to prove himself.

The 34-year-old was left out of England's tour of the Caribbean at the start of the year amid claims he had become 'disconnected' from the team, and it has been made clear since by senior figures at the England and Wales Cricket Board that Pietersen will not figure for the national team again.

He will line up for the Rest of the World side taking on an MCC team at Lord's on Saturday to celebrate the bicentenary of the ground and will no doubt be the centre of attention for much of the sold-out crowd.

The player himself continues to state his desire to one day play for England again and, having captained the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League and with limited-overs commitments to Surrey and St Lucia also in place, Pietersen does not feel he needs to play longer-format games to increase his chances of a Test return.

"No, cricket has never been the issue," he said when asked if four-day cricket would provide a route back into the team.

"I have played 104 Test matches, I've got enough runs. I think the resume is okay - cricket is not the issue. I have got a phone in my pocket and a pretty good resume, it is not about the cricket.

"I would love to play for England again - I have still got hope. I don't think it might happen, I live in hope every day, I'm 34 and I'm young.

"I can still play and I have a good resume and if things change one day I would gladly accept the opportunity because I love playing for England, if I didn't I would have retired - I would love to play again.

"I've never lost interest in playing for England, I loved it and every single day I wanted to improve. I had ambitions and I had goals and they are still there.

"I probably needed a few months out with my knee for sure, but that seems to have got itself back working okay so it is just a case of hoping the phone rings one day."

With a sold-out Lord's awaiting Pietersen and a host of other global stars of the game, the South Africa-born batsman is looking forward to showing what he can do on a big stage, even if he admits to being a little ring-rusty.

"I have always enjoyed playing at Lord's, it is an incredible occasion and something I'm looking forward to," he added.

"I didn't think I was going to get the opportunity to play in front of a full house at Lord's again but I will always still have hope to play many more games in front of full houses here - I'm only 34, the body is good and I have got ambition.

"I would love to say that I will get a big hundred (on Saturday) in front of the world's audience but that doesn't happen in cricket, I'm not playing cricket enough at the moment to know if I'm in good nick or not."

Former Australia spinner Shane Warne will captain Pietersen and the Rest of the World side on Saturday and he has backed his new team-mate to show England what they are missing.

"KP is an absolute match-winner," he said.

"He is a superstar and a wonderful player. He is fantastic to watch, I'm sure he will turn it on on Saturday and smash it all over the park. He has played well over the years at Lord's in his time with England and hopefully he can do that on Saturday.

"With the guys we have in the side they are pretty special and we all have egos, but we will all be keen to impress and to show what they have got with the bat or the ball.

"I'm sure one or two players in the Rest of the World side will be keen to get out there and score a lot of runs. It will be pretty relaxed, everyone knows everyone. We want to win, Sachin's team wants to win, so we will enjoy the game."

Warne and Pietersen will be joined by the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Muttiah Muralitharan, Yuvraj Singh and Paul Collingwood, whilst Tendulkar's MCC team includes names such as Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara and Brett Lee.

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