Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 26th 2015 Contents A67
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LONDON---Kevin Pietersen took
another step toward a possible
return to the England team by
signing for Surrey yesterday,
giving the country s most con-
troversial player two months in
English county cricket to
impress selectors before the
Pietersen said in a column in
British newspaper The Daily
Telegraph that he will be donat-
ing all of his wages to his charity,
the KP24 Foundation, adding: "I
will at least end my career know-
ing I gave it another shot."
The South Africa-born bats-
man is seeking a way back into
the England set-up after being
ditched following last year s
Ashes whitewash in Australia so
the team could build a new
"ethos and philosophy" without
its most divisive influence.
Pietersen was given encour-
agement by the incoming chair-
man of the England and Wales
Cricket Board, Colin Graves, who
said last month that Pietersen
could be recalled if he plays
county cricket and scores lots of
runs. Pietersen and Graves have
also spoken over the telephone.
Pietersen has reacted by secur-
ing a release from his lucrative
contract with Indian Premier
League side Sunrisers Hyderabad
and signing a season-long deal
with Surrey, for whom he played
Twenty20 cricket last year.
"A lot of people thought I
would not be prepared to put in
the hard yards and play county
cricket but I will do anything to
get that England cap back on my
head," Pietersen said in the Tele-
"All I am looking for is a fair
opportunity to play for England
again. I just want a blank sheet
of paper and to be judged on
Pietersen will be available for
the opening game of the county
championship on April 19, and
says he is planning to play for
Surrey only in four-day county
championship games, rather than
in ODIs and Twenty20s.
"A Kevin Pietersen with ambi-
tions to play for England and a
real determination to score big
runs for Surrey will be a huge
asset to us," said Alec Stewart,
the former England batsman who
is Surrey s director of cricket.
The five-test Ashes series
begins on July 8 with the first
match in Cardiff.
Last week, England selector
James Whitaker said Pietersen
was "not part of our plans," and
test captain Alastair Cook said a
recall would be "very unlikely"
because Pietersen s explosive
comments about teammates and
coaches in his autobiography last
year may have caused irreparable
Pietersen said he never had
any issues with Cook---he called
him a "nice guy" and "one of
England s greatest ever crick-
eters"---and that he was happy
to play under him and coach
Peter Moores, who Pietersen fell
out with in Moores first spell in
charge from 2007-09.
Pietersen was the second-
highest runs-scorer in the recent
Big Bash in Australia, averaging
41.86 runs for Melbourne Stars,
and said he was "in the best
shape I have been in for a very
long time" following knee prob-
SYDNEY---India opener Rohit Sharma
has every reason to be confident about
his chances of success against Australia
in the World Cup semifinal.
The 27-year-old right-hander is one of
only two current Indian players to have
beaten Australia in a limited-overs inter-
national at the Sydney Cricket Ground,
venue for the semifinal today.
He was playing the 13th of his 134 ODI
matches and batting at No 5 when he
scored 66 in a match-turning 123-run
partnership with Sachin Tendulkar in a
six-wicket win over Australia in Sydney
in March 2008. Skipper Mahendra Singh
Dhoni also featured in that game, which
remains India s only win at the ground
against the Australians in 14 meetings back
"It s been a long time, seven years. I
can recall that very well," he said. "It s
really fresh in my memory because...the
great Sachin Tendulkar was batting along-
side me, so there is no way I can forget
that. It was a very important game."
It set Sharma him up for prolific record
against the top-ranked Australians---he
averages 58.7 in 17 ODIs against the
Aussies, far superior to his career average
of just under 40. He has scored three cen-
turies against the Australians, including
141 not out at Jaipur and 209 at Bangalore
in the same series in 2013.
"As a batsman, over the years I ve
learned a lot of things. Certainly batting
up the order has changed my game, my
approach toward the game and the respon-
sibility," he said. "I know if I m batting
top of the order there is a huge respon-
sibility and I have to take my team through.
"So every time I go to bat I always think
about that. Doesn t matter if I come on
top or not, but at least I do that."
In the last head-to-head against Aus-
tralia, he posted 138 in a losing cause at
Melbourne in January. The Indians didn t
win a competitive game in Australia for
two months leading up to the World Cup,
but turned it around at the World Cup,
where the defending champions have won
seven consecutive matches and bowled
out the opposition in every game. Sharma
scored a century in the quarterfinal win
over Bangladesh, so is coming into form.
Sharma is a dangerous batsman, and
capable of getting India away to a rapid
start---something that will be needed
against four-time champion Australia.
And he s prolific, having set a world record
264 from 173 balls, including 33 bound-
aries and nine sixes against Sri Lanka last
"I think records are there to be broken.
I don t wish my record to be broken. But,
look, every batsman would want to hit a
big score," he said in comments translated
from Hindi. "To score 200 runs is not
easy, it is a very tough job. Even when I
scored 264 I was told (by people) that
you should have scored 300. Not just in
India, everywhere, people s expectations
are very high."
With a pro-India crowd at the SCG,
and with a spot in the final against New
Zealand up for grabs, there s no doubt
he ll be aiming to score a lot of runs, and
quickly, against Australia.
The final is scheduled for Sunday at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground.
India's Rohit Sharma looks back
during batting practice at training for
the Cricket World Cup in Sydney,
Australia, yesterday. India will play
Australia in the World Cup semifinal
on today to gain a place in the final
against New Zealand. AP PHOTO
Bullish Rohit ready to take on Australia
Pietersen signs for Surrey
in bid for England recall
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