Cricket

Pietersen hopes ECB differences finally 'sorted'

Kevin Pietersen believes his differences with the ECB are finally "sorted", and he will return in time to tour New Zealand early next year.

 
KP hopes problems 'sorted' - CricketPA Sport
 

England's prodigal batsman has been at odds with his employers for much of the summer and was eventually dropped from the Test team at Lord's when his working relationship with coach Andy Flower and then captain Andrew Strauss broke down over "provocative" texts sent to opposing South African players at Headingley.

Pietersen is playing no part in England's defence of the ICC World Twenty20, either. Instead, he is fulfilling a lucrative contract as a television pundit and he tweeted his optimism about returning to the international set-up soon. In an exchange with New Zealand rugby union star Dan Carter, he wrote: "Hoping all's sorted and I'm on the NZ tour in Feb."

Pietersen's remark comes a day after new Test captain Alastair Cook confirmed he has held meetings with the South Africa-born batsman, but issues remain to be resolved before he can resume his international career with his adopted country.

Cook replaced Strauss when the latter retired last month, and will travel to India for a tough four-Test tour there without Pietersen in his squad.

England's selectors felt unable to reintegrate the superstar batsman yet, and he was also left off the list of those with annual central contracts - meaning Pietersen will be a free agent once his current deal runs out at the end of this month.

Cook said: "I did have a meeting with Kev and I've been involved with (other) meetings as well. Clearly the issues haven't been resolved, and that's why he hasn't been made available for selection at the moment. Time, I hope, will be a healer and we will be able to move on."

The England and Wales Cricket Board had no comment to make in response to Pietersen's tweet, and Cook refused to be drawn on what the issues are.

"That is private, and I can't talk about it," he said. "For the best outcome possible we can't be talking about it. When the issue gets resolved - if the issue gets resolved - I hope he can come back and play for England. At the moment that can't happen. We're trying to do it behind closed doors to get the best possible outcome.

"It's a sad circumstance at the moment. He is a world-class player and he's not playing for England at this precise moment in time. He will be missed, but it gives another person an opportunity."

Strauss also talked with the batsman amid stories of Pietersen's unhappiness with team-mates having made fun of him.

"We did catch up - it was important we did that. He and I have had some interesting times over the last month or two and it was good to sit down," Strauss told Sky Sports.

"He apologised for a few things he had done and we are absolutely fine going forward. Everyone needs a bit of time to let things settle and we will see what the best way forward is."

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