London, March 2: Banished England cricketer Kevin Pietersen on Monday hailed comments from Colin Graves who will succeed as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman in May, saying he would love to play for England again. (ECB chairman opens door to Pietersen's return)
Graves insisted that there was a way back for Pietersen in the England team if the former skipper would play county cricket.
"The first thing he has to do if he wants to get back is start playing county cricket. The selectors and the coaches are not going to pick him if he's not playing, it's as simple as that. I'll leave it at that," Graves had told earlier.
Speaking on the comments, Pietersen whose international career came to an end last February as the ECB sought to rebuild England's "team ethic" said: "Let's just be clear: I'd love to play for England again."
"If it is genuine, which I'm sure it is goodness, I would love to be given that opportunity again. I will need to go away and make some decisions, I need to speak to a few people, I'll have to go away now and see where my future lies, but this is really, really encouraging," Pietersen was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.
The prolific right-handed batsman has scored 13,797 runs in England colours. He said he was quite surprised with Graves's words, especially at a time when he thought his England career was cut short and taken away from him.
"The previous chat (with ECB officials) was clearly that I had been banned from playing for England and that I'd never play again, which for me was incredibly sad," the 34-year-old said.
I do feel that my England career was cut short and taken away from me. It's come as a pleasant surprise but one that I'll need to think through."