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London - Things are falling into place for England at just the right time. Fresh from back-to-back victories over South Africa in the one-day series, comes the news that renegade 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 teammates 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.
Meanwhile, Strauss announced his retirement last week, although he insisted that the shock decision wasn’t prompted by the Pietersen storm.
With Pietersen’s England future hanging by a thread, the South African-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 stars Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, who expressed the hope that their old teammate can return to the fold.
“I think everybody would like to see him back,” Morgan said. “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 and Bopara have helped England turn around the one-day series and regain their No 1 ODI ranking. Allastair Cook’s side leads the five-match series 2-1 with the final ODI to be played at Nottingham on Wednesday.
South Africa, after winning the Test series 2-0 and trouncing England by 80 runs in the second ODI, have fallen badly off the pace.