Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara has backed Surrey teammate Kevin Pietersen to make a return to the England Test side.
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Pietersen made his first steps towards a return to the national setup after making his County return on the weekend, but it didn’t exactly go to plan for the 34-year-old.
The star batsman was dismissed for just 19 off 28 deliveries against Glamorgan on Sunday.
Despite Pietersen’s lacklustre start, Sangakkara says the exiled star is a proven match-winner and should be selected in England’s Ashes squad in July.
“I know from playing against Kevin when he came to Sri Lanka the last time,” Sangakkara is quoted as saying by Cricket.com.au.
“With England 1-0 down, the way Kevin Pietersen came into that last Test with that hundred was magnificent.
“He is an out-and-out match-winner.
“I want to watch a match-winner out there, I would want a match-winner in my side so hopefully they can iron out their differences and Kevin Pietersen can come back and play.
“When you have a batsman of that ability I reckon even the side would like him there. “It’s not my call to make or my place to comment on it but at the end of the day I just hope that they iron out their differences.”
It’s a glowing endorsement from one of cricket’s all-time great batsman, but it remains to be seen if Pietersen will seriously be considered even if he does perform well with the bat at County level.
Incoming England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves has left the door open for Pietersen’s return, but his fractured relationship with Test skipper Alastair Cook could prove to be a stumbling block.
England are currently in the midst of a three-Test tour of the West Indies as they build up for the upcoming Ashes series, beginning in Cardiff in July.