KP: Nuts not to pick him?

Pietersen Batting At Lord's - 2011

Can the rebel cricketer return to the England fold?

When Colin Graves, the incoming chairman of the ECB stated in his 1st March interview that England would struggle to ignore Kevin Pietersen if he was scoring a lot of runs in county cricket, many people's first reaction was to check it wasn't the 1st April.

Within a week, Pietersen had declared his intent to play county cricket in the 2015 season to try and earn his place back in the England team. However, can the South African-born batsman really get back into the England team?

Those supporting a return would point out that the 34-year-old has a higher batting average than anyone else in the England squad both in terms of Test cricket and One Day Internationals and that his aggressive batting style would be suited to the modern 50 over game.

Those opposing his return, which crucially include the captain, manager and selectors of the Test team, would paint KP as an injury-prone 34-year-old, whose powers are declining and who hasn't played anything longer than 20 over cricket for 18 months, He simply wouldn't improve the team in the long term.

However a stronger case may be made by pointing out Pietersen's long history of falling out with virtually every team he has played for. 

After leaving Natal, blaming the quota system, he called Graeme Smith ' an absolute muppet, childish and strange' leading to calls for an ICC disrepute charge.

When he left Notts, he slammed the pitch as not being good enough for him and caused such bad feeling that the Notts captain, Jason Gallian threw his kit bag off the pavilion balcony. For his next county Hampshire, he didn't play a county championship match for five seasons.

For England there was the rift with Peter Moores in 2009 which led to them both leaving their jobs, in 2012 there were the derogatory text messages he sent to the opposition about his own captain and manager, before finally being dismissed by England two years later for being a negative influence in the dressing room.

Pietersen's response to this has been a predictable and relentless criticism of the England team and management. If offered an olive branch he seemed likely to use it as a stick to beat his former teammates with. However, he has seized on what he sees as invitation to play again and cricket fans and the media will be viewing his form intently this summer.

KP is the ultimate Marmite sportsman, you either love him or hate him. Personally, he's a little too bitter for my tastes.