Kevin Pietersen is “looking at” playing county cricket this year in a bid to win an England recall.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Pietersen, who was sacked by the England team’s managing director Paul Downton last winter but who continues to say he wants to resume his international career, will skip the Indian Premier League season and said Surrey were the favourites to re-sign him.
On Saturday, when asked if he would play county cricket, he said: “That’s what I’m looking at at the moment.
“There will be a change of scenery at board level with the ECB and I’ve always expressed my desire to play for England again if I get the opportunity.”
Following his sacking, Pietersen wrote a book which was strongly critical of several of his England team-mates and it appeared that he would finish his career playing Twenty20 cricket overseas.
But with England limping to an early exit in the World Cup, speculation about a return has resumed and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s incoming chairman Colin Graves said last month that players would be picked on performance and not personality when he takes over from Giles Clarke in May.
Pietersen, who turns 35 this summer, continued: “It seems encouraging but I’ve obviously got a few steps that I’ve got to climb. It just makes perfect sense to explore different things - that’s what I’m doing.
“There’s nothing to add (to the reports). Whatever you’ve seen, you’ve seen. I’ve still got more decisions to make - it’s weekend now so nobody will be picking up their phones, but (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) will be very exciting, hopefully.”
The Sunrisers Hyderabad signed Pietersen for around £300,000 in the IPL auction in January, but in order to be considered for England once again Pietersen would have to pull out as the IPL season runs from April 9 to May 25.
He has also signed to play for St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League, which starts at the end of June.
Meanwhile, captain William Porterfield revealed his pride at Ireland’s efforts during the World Cup as they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the knockout phase after defeat to Pakistan.
And the Irish skipper again attacked the International Cricket Council’s decision to cut the number of teams at the next World Cup.
This year’s edition features 14 teams, but under the ICC’s plans that will be reduced to 10 for the next tournament to be held in England in 2019.
And Porterfield said: “Why don’t 10 teams just play cricket and every other country in the world not bother?
“You’ve got a Champions Trophy every two years and that’s the top eight sides so you’re just making a World Cup every other year for the top eight to 10 sides, I don’t think it’s right.
“I’m sure they’re (the ICC) hoping everything blows over in the next few weeks and they don’t hear much from us, then it’s just easy to brush it under the carpet, but I think something has to be done if they want to grow the game.
“We have to be playing in these competitions and we’ve shown what we can do in them. We’re unlucky we’ve missed out on the quarter-finals on net run-rate.”