KP may be a hit for local T20

2014-10-21 00:00

CAPE TOWN — South African-born England discard Kevin Pietersen is negotiating the possibility of playing a first-time role in the domestic Ram Slam T20 Challenge, according to British newspaper reports.

The Daily Mirror claims the controversial batsman, whose recently-released autobiography paints a damning picture of the English national team’s dressing room, is set to resume his career in his land of birth “within a fortnight”.

The T20 competition is scheduled to begin on November 2, although the fixtures for the six-franchise event have not yet been released.

“Former Three Lions batsman Pietersen — a free agent since his Surrey contract expired at the end of August — is in the country of his birth on a safari holiday,” the report said.

“However, he is expected to be one of the overseas players his former county colleague Graeme Smith has persuaded to feature in the Ram Slam tournament.”

Former Proteas captain Smith has been appointed tournament director and brand ambassador, with Cricket South Africa (CSA) hoping he will coax a greater number of decent overseas players than is customary to maximise interest in this year’s competition.

Should Pietersen (34) find a temporary home with any of the sides, the former KwaZulu-Natal player, who left the country in the early 2000s to pursue his career in England, would automatically become a prime attraction, particularly given the once-unlikely “homecoming” aspect.

The story quoted a CSA spokesperson as saying: “We will most likely be making an announcement next week once contracts have been finalised.”

It also said there was no certainty he would be available for the entire competition; Pieter­sen was due to play for Mel­bourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League from mid-December.

The South African T20 competition does not boast the sort of budgets or gravitas associated with the more cosmopolitan Aussie event; last season the only overseas stars lured here were Azhar Mahmood (Lions), Sunil Narine (Cobras), Saeed Ajmal (Titans) and Sohail Tanvir (Lions). — Sport24.

• The Witness contacted the Dolphins yesterday. Outgoing CEO Jesse Chellan confirmed the Durban franchise was in the process of negotiating with an overseas player ahead of the T20 season. Chellan could not say who it was, but did confirm it was not KP.

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