Kevin Pietersen's IPL status may shed light on his England future


Kevin Pietersen's Indian Premier League status is set to be clarified on Friday as debate continues to rage over his future as an England player.

Pietersen's interest in the lucrative tournament frequently strained relations with the England and Wales Cricket Board, although central contracts now contain leeway for IPL participation, with a cut-off this year of 13 May.

England may now prefer their leading players to shun the competition in favour of county cricket, however, after the Ashes humiliation. On Friday, franchises will announce their retained list for the forthcoming campaign. Pietersen is affiliated with the Delhi Daredevils, and if they choose to extend the relationship, he could miss five County Championship fixtures for the Brown Caps, which could cause further conflict.

Should, on the other hand, Pietersen's name be absent from the retained list it would open up the intriguing possibility of the 104-Test veteran withdrawing from the subsequent player auction and making a very public case for a place in England's summer Test plans.

On paper, that would seem an outside bet – particularly given Pietersen's indifference to the domestic game since making his Test debut in 2005.

But he has always been aware of the prestige attached to the highest form of the game and on Wednesday made a point of tweeting his commitment to regaining the Ashes urn in 2015.

Avoiding the IPL for a season would doubtless cause him a financial hit but would underline that commitment better than any amount of social networking. His county employers, meanwhile, will be monitoring developments with interest.

Pietersen's Surrey contract is linked directly to his ECB deal, automatically renewing when he re-signs and expiring when he does not.