London: With his England comeback dreams over, swashbuckling batsman Kevin Pietersen is now set to join IPL franchise SunRisers Hyderabad as the play-offs race hots up at the business end of the T20 cricket tournament.
The former England batsman was expecting a recall in the national side ahead of the Ashes, especially after his triple century for Surrey against Leicestershire, but new ECB director Andrew Strauss shut the doors on him citing “trust” issues.
Dejected at being ‘misled’ to understand that he stood a chance to make an England entry, the 34-year-old player feels ‘betrayed’ by the ECB.
“Nobody has called me. I have given up my IPL contract, at great expense, to play in county cricket. Surrey did not have any funds free to pay me so I said I would play for nothing, just a donation to charity, and it is horrendous to feel I have been led down the garden path. They knew all along this was a dead end for me,” Pietersen was quoted as saying in his column in ‘The Daily Telegraph’.
SRH had agreed to pay Rs 20 million for the former Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils player at the pre-season auction in Bengaluru.
But Pietersen reached an agreement with the Hyderabad-based franchise to allow him to head back to play county cricket in a bid to make an England comeback. He is now eager to play for SRH.
“Under the agreement of releasing me from my IPL contract, Sunrisers Hyderabad have the right to recall me for the final stages of the tournament, so on Friday – at their request – I’ll be travelling out to India. It’ll give me a good opportunity to cool down and assess what I’m going to do next. I’m just sorry it won’t be putting on an England shirt,” he said.
Placed in the top-four of the league table, SRH are in contention of a play-off berth and even though the management is non-committal about Pietersen’s return in the squad, the David Warner-led side would certainly be more than happy to welcome the batsman with open arms.