London: Kevin Pietersen has been given hope of a return from international exile after two England stars claimed the controversial batsman would be welcomed back into the squad. Pietersen was dropped by England after falling out with captain Andrew Strauss and his team-mates following a series of behind the scenes incidents. The 32-year-old enraged his colleagues, who were already frustrated by his rows with England chiefs over his desire to play less one-day cricket, by sending provocative text messages to South African players that contained criticism of Strauss and coach Andy Flower.
As punishment for his behaviour, Pietersen was axed from the final Test against South Africa, the subsequent one-day series and will also be absent from England's defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown in Sri Lanka this month.
Meanwhile, Strauss announced his retirement last week, although he insisted that shock decision wasn't prompted by the Pietersen storm. With Pietersen's England future hanging by a thread, the South Africa-born star reportedly met with Flower over the weekend in a bid to start the healing process.
And he has received a further boost from England batsman Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, who both hope their old team-mate can return to the fold despite reports he was no longer welcome in the dressing room. "I think everybody would like to see him back," Morgan told Sky Sports News.
"I think the general public love watching him play, and the cricketing world do as well."
Bopara added: "It'd be nice to see him back in England colours. He's a great player; we know he's a class player. I hope for him things turn out well."
Morgan also paid tribute to his former England and Middlesex team-mate Strauss, adding: "He's a fantastic ambassador for the game, a guy you always looked up to and admired for a very, very long time - both at Middlesex and England.
"I've had the pleasure of playing under him, and I'd like to say thank you to him for [helping me] learn a hell of a lot."