Leeds: England's star batsman Kevin Pietersen on Monday dropped a bombshell by suggesting that the third and final Test against South Africa might be his last. "I can't rule out that my next Test may be my last," he said after winning the Man-of-the-Match award in the drawn second Test at Headingley after a superb innings of 149, which he followed up by taking three wickets.
Pietersen's future was a major issue before the series against the Proteas began. He has already announced his retirement from from one-day international cricket, amid speculation he wanted to be available for a full Indian Premier League programme while still playing for England and play in the upcoming World Twenty20 in September. "That is two of many points," he said. "But they're not the main two points. Let's make that very clear, there are other points I am trying to sort out in the dressing room. There are a lot of other issues. It's absolutely 100 percent not a money issue. You'll find out soon enough, not tonight. It will be a lot clearer after the next Test match."
Pietersen said it would be a "huge shame" if his Test career came to an end. "I love playing Test cricket for England," he told reporters. "The saddest part for me is that the spectators just love watching me play and I love playing for England but the politics is what I have to deal with personally. It's tough for me playing for England."
Pietersen also hit out at what he suggested were media leaks about his negotiations with the England and Wales Cricket Board leading into the series. "It was blamed on me, it was me grabbing the headlines. Did I leak anything to the media about my meetings with the ECB?" he added. "I never spoke a single word to a single journalist about anything that was spoken about behind closed doors, that I thought were closed doors."
England captain Andrew Strauss and Pietersen attended separate press conferences. Strauss said: "I don't want to comment on what Kevin may or may not have said. I'm happy to talk about how amazingly well he played in this Test match. It was one of the best innings I have seen him play. What he may or may not have said is not for me to comment on at this stage."
South Africa, gunning for England's world number one Test side position, are currently 1-0 up in the series after Monday's second Test draw. The third Test starts at Lord's on August 16.