Australia Test captain Michael Clarke expects exiled England batsman Kevin Pietersen to feature in the forthcoming Ashes series.
Speaking at his unveiling as Melbourne Stars captain for the next two seasons, Clarke suggested his fellow 34-year-old could not only earn a stunning recall for England but cause his side difficulty during the five-Test series.
Pietersen hasn’t played first-class cricket since January 2014 in Sydney, where Australia completed a 5-0 whitewash of England during the last Ashes series. But the South African-born batsman scored 170 against Oxford in the county’s final warm-up game, showing glimpses of the form that propelled him to become England’s all-time leading run-scorer.
The Australian Test skipper believes he’ll get there. “I do think he could be at the Ashes,” Clarke said.
“His form, he’s showed that, he’s certainly scoring enough runs. “He’s made it very clear he wants to play and now it will come down to the England selectors. At the moment, from the Australians’ perspective, I’m happy if he’s not playing because he’s a wonderful player.” said Clarke.
ECB chairman Colin Graves, who takes charge next month, opened the door for Pietersen, suggesting a mountain of domestic runs couldn’t be ignored. “I’ve been given a lifeline,” Pietersen said following his century against Oxford last week. “I really, really like the way that the new bosses are talking, from stuff that you read and stuff that you hear. All I’ve got to do is score runs,” Pietersen concluded.
Is the second innings in Pietersen’s career due or will his dream of returning to the English side remain an illusion?