London: Sacked England batsman Kevin Pietersen on Tuesday was released by his Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad for the entire first phase of the tournament, beginning on April 8.
The agreement allows Pietersen to miss the Sunrisers’ entire league fixtures, but will see him recalled should the team reach the knockout stages of the competition — which commence on May 19 and finish with the final on May 24.
The move means he can now join a county side — with Surrey believed to be the front-runners for his services — as he steps up his quest for an England recall in the upcoming Ashes series.
Pietersen, with 104 Test caps, is a four-time Ashes winner and is also England’s highest-ever run scorer in all formats. But he was sacked from the team after running into repeated confrontations with his teammates and coaches.
“I’m hugely grateful for all the support and understanding I’ve received from everyone at the Sunrisers and the IPL,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
“My focus is now very much on the upcoming season in England and I’m absolutely determined to score as many runs as possible.
“I’ve never made any secret of my overwhelming desire to once again represent England and I’m going to do everything in my power to earn a recall to the international set-up,” the right-handed batsman said.
Pietersen expressed his desire to score runs domestically in order to give himself a fighting chance to earn a recall to the national team.
“To once again put on that England shirt would be a privilege and an honour, but now I have to focus on performing domestically and give myself the best possible chance of meriting selection,” he said.