London – Surrey chief executive Richard Gould has revealed his English county are trying to ensure controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen will be able to continue playing for them during the coming season.
Pietersen's existing agreement with Surrey was linked to his central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board and will expire when the terms of severance on that are finalised.
The 33-year-old's days as an international cricketer came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that it had “unanimously” decided to move forward without him.
With England due to name their squads for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies and the World Twenty20 on Thursday, the ECB's new managing director Paul Downton elected to make a decisive call on Pietersen's future amid numerous reports that he was a divisive influence in his team's dressing room during their unsuccessful tour to Australia.
With the most lucrative playing options available in India, Australia and the West Indies, there remains a chance that Pietersen, who had already been exiled by England once previously, has played his final professional cricket in England.
But he has enjoyed arguably the best relations of his career with Surrey and Gould is hoping to secure Pietersen's services for at least the domestic Twenty20 competition.
The £2 million county salary cap means the county cannot simply throw money at Pietersen, but a solution may still be possible.
“As soon as Kevin's central contract has ended, his contract with us falls away,” Gould told Surrey TV.
“When he played for Surrey over recent years there was no money changing hands - he was playing for Surrey as part of his central contract.
“Kevin is effectively now a free agent. It must be quite a difficult period for him...and no doubt lots of people coming to him with options for what he could or should do in the future.
“We know he really wants to continue playing for Surrey, he knows we are really keen for him to continue playing for us, and over the next week or so we will work together to make sure that happens.
“There are market forces at work now. Obviously the IPL is going to play a big factor, and the Big Bash but we want him for the NatWest T20 Blast and perhaps other formats of cricket here.
“I just need to make sure we can offer Kevin a good market rate for his services that keeps us within the boundaries we need to remain within.” – Sapa-AFP