Cricket

Swann backs Pietersen in his quest.

Graeme Swann reacts to Kevin Pietersen's South Africa proposal

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Kevin Pietersen is no stranger to controversies.

The swashbuckling right-handed batsman has been at the centre of many acrimonious spats, none more famous than the full-on war with the governing body of English Cricket, the ECB.

Pietersen hails originally from South Africa, where he started his career at Natal in 1997, before moving to England three years later, dissatisfied at the racial quota system in South African cricket.

Being of English ancestry, Pietersen was eligible for the England team so long as he first served a four-year qualifying period in English county cricket.

He was called up by England almost immediately after he completed four years with Nottinghamshire.

Boosted by strong performances all along his career, Pietersen went on to captain the England Test and ODI teams from 4 August 2008 to 7 January 2009, but resigned after just three Tests and nine ODIs following a dispute with the then England coach Peter Moores.

Pietersen's relationship with the ECB never fully recovered after this incident.

In 2012, after a disagreement over his schedule, Pietersen announced his retirement from all forms of international limited-overs cricket. Although he later retracted his retirement, his relationship with both the ECB and his teammates soured during that time, and he was subsequently dropped.

He last played for England in the 2013–14 Ashes and subsequent ODIs, after which he was informed that he was no longer being considered for international selection.

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It may sound grim and final, but Pietersen still fancies a return to international cricket, just not with England.

He will be eligible to feature for the Proteas again next year.

Speaking about his future in the game last week, Pietersen told talkSPORT: "I’ll play [Twenty20 cricket] in South Africa for the next two years and across the world.

"The issue with [playing in] England next year is I’m building a lodge in Africa and the time I’ll be there with my family and doing stuff in Africa is over this period, so I won’t be in England next year.

"And then I don’t think at 39 I fancy warm-ups in the summer."

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When pressed whether he would indeed continue playing, he responded: "I’ll play for South Africa!

"It’s a possibility, whether it happens we’ll wait until 2019. All I’m doing now is committing to the franchises. I don’t know, we’ll see."

Pietersen’s former teammate Graeme Swann has now reacted to the news that the controversial cricketer has his sights on the South African national team.

The right-arm off spinner, who played 60 Tests and 79 ODIs for the national side, wished his former pal good luck as he embarks on a new journey.

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"Good luck to him [Pietersen]," Swann remarked in an interview with the Daily Mirror.

"He is South African after all. He is more than welcome to play for his own country. Kevin’s talent has never been in question."

It will be interesting to see if Pietersen can revive his career at the international level.

Age is not on his side and the Proteas national team is one of the most competitive squads in modern cricket, but it would be unwise to count him out of contention just yet.

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Topics:
Cricket
The Ashes
ODI
Kevin Pietersen
South Africa cricket
T20
Joe Root
ODI World Cup
England cricket

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