London: England star Kevin Pietersen on Saturday unreservedly committed his future to England, just days after dropping a bombshell by suggesting that the third and final Test against South Africa might be his last. In an interview posted on YouTube Pietersen insisted: "I'm not going anywhere - I want to commit to all forms of cricket for England because I love playing for England." He further explained he wanted to provide "confirmation and clarity" regarding his situation. "I love being part of a successful England team - we are a successful team," said Pietersen.
"It would be really sad to end a career like this so sitting down with my family, my advisers and my close friends we've decided and I've decided that it would be a lot better to finish my career for England on a positive note rather than one that's being developed at the moment." On Monday he had stated: "I can't rule out that my next Test may be my last," 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.
On Saturday, he made a volte-face, saying he had recognised he realised his love for the international game was too great to let it go and said his earlier comments had been misguided. "There was a press conference that I did Monday night which I didn't handle the right way. I was very emotional. I am who I am in terms of shooting from the hip occasionally. I bat like that - I bowled like that last week! I do make mistakes." He added that the dressing room mood had been "sorted out" after a "really really good long chat" to an unnamed team-mate on Friday. "We went through everything. We went through differences, we went through through loads of different things and I actually finished that conversation a very happy bloke and somebody who cannot wait to meet up with team on Tuesday," said Pietersen.
He said that on Monday he was in an emotional state and did think that there was a possibility it was his penultimate Test match. "I said things I probably shouldn't have said - I'm sitting here today clearing things up," said Pietersen, saying he was returning unconditionally. "I am wanting to play all three forms of cricket for England again. I want to make myself available for every single form of cricket for England." He added that he had had support from his "marvellous franchise" Delhi Daredevils, who had been understanding in recognising he would not play the whole Indian Premier League season. "I wont be playing the full IPL - IPL is definitely not an elephant in the room any more," he stressed.
The ECB later announced that the England squad for the third Test against South Africa would be issued at 1230 GMT on Sunday - five hours later than initially scheduled. 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.
South African-born Pietersen's future had been a major issue before the series against the Proteas began. The 32-year-old had already announced his retirement from one-day international cricket, amid speculation he wanted to be available for a full IPL programme. That fuelled speculation that his motivation for quitting the ODI scene was largely financial - something he roundly rejected Saturday. "Money is not everything to me - I love winning for England. I loved the runs I scored at Headingley. Winning makes me happy." But he did concede that financial security was very important to him. "I've got a young family - you need to care for your family. Luckily I do get financially well-looked after."
Pietersen had explained on Monday that "it's tough for me playing for England," while blasting what he suggested were media leaks about his negotiations with the England and Wales Cricket Board leading into the series.