KP could depart Test arena in search of IPL riches, says Bob
Last Updated: August 7, 2012 11:58am
Bob Willis believes Kevin Pietersen's Test match career could be coming to an end.
England v South Africa
Third Test, day one
10.30am, Thu, Aug 16
Sky Sports 1 HD
Watch on the move with Sky Go
"It's a mess. Pietersen could go to India this autumn and New Zealand in the winter and then retire abruptly from Test match cricket.
Bob Willis Quotes of the week
The England batsman scored a scintillating century during the second Test with South Africa at Headingley to help his side claim a draw, a result that keeps the hosts 1-0 down in the series.
But the 32-year-old cast doubt over his future after the match by saying that there are "obstacles" to overcome if he is to prolong his stay in the five-day arena beyond the third and final Test against the Proteas.
Pietersen announced his retirement from the 50-over format earlier this summer and former England seamer Bob Willis thinks the Surrey man may imminently call time on his Test tenure in favour of the riches of the Indian Premier League.
"It's a mess," Willis told Sky Sports. "He could go to India this autumn and New Zealand in the winter and then retire abruptly from Test match cricket.
"He's clearly got his nose severely out of joint by not being included in England's initial squad of 30 for the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September.
"But he also wants to play fully in the IPL, which clashes directly with England's home series with New Zealand next May. He wants to earn his $2.5million and he is holding England to ransom."
England quick Stuart Broad recorded a five-wicket haul on the final day at Headingley, which included the prize scalps of AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis, and Mark Butcher was impressed by the 26-year-old's "dangerous" bowling.
"He is a streaky bowler; at times he looks innocuous and other times he looks devastating," the ex-England batsman, who appeared in 71 Test matches, said of Broad.
"It looked to me that today [Monday] he got a bit of reverse swing happening, and then when he started to pitch balls up, they were not floaty half-volleys but very dangerous deliveries that were attacking the stumps. That is the sort of spell we saw from him against Australia [in the Ashes]."
Willis, meanwhile, reckons England must recall spinner Graeme Swann for the decisive Test at Lord's, which begins on Thursday, August 16, and thinks Durham paceman Graham Onions may also come into the fold.
But Butcher says that despite the mystery surrounding Pietersen's future, there is no way he will be dropped for a clash the hosts must win to retain their place at the top of the Test rankings.
"England made an error by leaving Graeme Swann out of the side (at Headingley) and he most certainly has to come back - but I suspect it will be a long discussion amongst the selectors," said Willis.
"I would have thought [Tim] Bresnan's place was under threat and [Steven] Finn's place is up for grabs as well. England could leave them both and play Swann and Onions and that is the way I might go.
"Pietersen has spokem about a sporty wicket at Lord's but that's not (groundsman's) Mick Hunt's style; it will be as flat as a pancake and England will have to work very hard to win."
Butcher, when asked whether Pietersen would be omitted from England line-up, added: "If it hadn't been for Kevin Pietersen's stunning assault in that first innings then England would probably be 2-0 down and South Africa would be the number one Test side in the world."
To hear more from Willis on the Pietersen situation, hit the video at the top of the screen, while for the views of Mike Gatting, click here.