Pietersen hopeful of return

All-rounder Gayle is set to play in the Caribbean Premier League this summer for Jamaica Tallawahs, while Pietersen will represent St Lucia Zouks as he did last year.

Gayle thinks his 34-year-old friend should be playing for England instead, despite him being told he wouldn’t again by Andrew Strauss last month.

Pietersen was omitted due to a ???massive trust issue??? between him and the England and Wales Cricket Board relating to his previous indiscretions.

The record-breaking batsman is performing as well as he feels he has ever done, however, and Gayle has added to the growing calls for him to be reinstated.

Pietersen is optimistic that can happen and said: “Obviously there’s a lot of disappointment purely because of the passion I had for playing for England.

“I loved playing for England. I don???t think that door is totally closed and we???ll have to just wait and see and watch where we get to.

“All I can do is just bat and that???s all I want to do. I???ll continue to do that because I feel extremely fresh and I???m batting as well as I’ve ever batted in my career.”

Asked if he felt he could still play for England, Pietersen added: “Absolutely. I wouldn???t be saying this if I couldn’t. I’m in the form of my life.”

Pietersen gave his own support to England ODI captain Eoin Morgan after he said his side has to starting catching up with the world’s leading nations.

The batsman is excited by some of the young players in the team and has urged the ECB to keep faith with them and give them time to flourish.

England began their one-day series with World Cup finalists New Zealand at Edgbaston on Tuesday morning, with five matches taking place up to June 20.

Pietersen said: “I think it???s the brand of cricket Eoin???s talking about and I think he???s bang on. I think he’s right.

“England were the first team to leave the World Cup in Australia. Afghanistan still played in Australia (after England???s exit) and that shows how desperate and poorly they played.

“The good thing is when you stare at a difficult phase in your life, you’ve got to acknowledge you???re going through that difficult phase and they???ve acknowledged that???s happened.

“The people picked for this one-day series excite me and I???ll definitely watch it. Guys like Jason Roy, (Alex) Hales and the middle order ??? the Morgans and the (Jos) Buttlers ??? are exciting.

“For me, it’s a case of really hoping these guys nail it down. New Zealand are a wonderful one-day team and they got to the World Cup final because they???re a very good side.

“Hopefully they get these guys and give them a long run and don’t just chuck them out if they mess up in one series. They’ve got to blood them and play these guys for 12 months.”