Cricket: ECB chairman opens door to Pietersen return

LONDON (AFP) - Incoming England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves has given Kevin Pietersen a glimmer of hope that he may yet be able to resurrect his England career.

Pietersen, 34, has not played for England since the ECB effectively called time on his international career following the disastrous Ashes tour of 2013-14.

But with England toiling at the World Cup and Pietersen having spoken of his eagerness to return to the team, Graves has suggested that a return to English county cricket could open the door for a dramatic comeback.

"The first thing he has to do if he wants to get back is start playing county cricket," Graves told BBC Radio 5 on Sunday.

"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." Pietersen is currently without a county after leaving Surrey and although Graves is not an ECB selector, he believes a county return would help the outspoken South Africa-born batsman's cause.

Asked if he was in favour of Pietersen returning for England, Graves replied: "At the end of the day it's down to the selectors and coaches and what they feel is best for English cricket."

"They will make the decisions and I will support their decisions."

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