- West Indies in England 2012
Pietersen wants Gayle return
Kevin Pietersen has said it would be "brilliant for the game" if West Indies recalled Chris Gayle for the remainder of the Test series against England.
Gayle has not played Test cricket since December 2010 following a much documented fall out with the WICB. But, with both sides having moved to patch up some of their differences and Gayle's involvement with the 2012 IPL season now over - his team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, have been eliminated despite Gayle being the leading run-scorer in the round-robin stages - it has raised the possibility that he could be recalled to the Test squad although Darren Sammy was cagey on the matter.
West Indies, suffering from some brittle top-order batting and a lack of depth in their bowling, lost the first Test at Lord's by five wickets. Gayle, with more than 6,000 Test runs and over 70 Test wickets, could strengthen both departments.
"It will be brilliant for the game if he comes back to play this Test match," Pietersen said. "He is an entertainer. People want to watch entertainers. They don't want to watch people blocking the ball. They want to watch entertainers. He is one of those people that people will pay their money to watch him play and if he comes back that could be brilliant for the series. He is a superstar and he is one of my real good mates in cricket. I love the way he plays."
From an England viewpoint, Pietersen expressed his delight in Andrew Strauss' return to form. Strauss made his first Test century since November 2010 at Lord's though Pietersen insisted he never doubted the England captain.
"The wheel was going to turn at some point and it turned at Lord's," Pietersen said at a Chance to Shine event. "It's brilliant for English cricket. I have been through a period where I didn't score a hundred for a while. It just turns and since then I have scored I don't know how many hundreds. Strauss is a fantastic guy and I was more happy for him scoring that hundred than I have been for any other team-mate when they have scored a hundred. I loved the fact that he did that.
"Somebody's going to get it from the media at one stage in the month or the year. That's just what happens in our job. So long as you just accept that and understand that and concentrate on the ball as a batter, or the areas you bowl as a bowler, then everything's fine. You just have to park that to one side and just do your job. But the wheel turns for everyone. Everyone should notice that by now."
Pietersen also suggested that the "cricketing world" will be eagerly anticipating England's forthcoming Test series against South Africa later in the season. It will be contest to decide the No. 1 Test team in the world if England go on and complete victory over West Indies.
"We are going to have to play very good cricket because the South African team is a very strong cricketing unit with some fantastic players," Pietersen said. "We will have to play really positive cricket too at every opportunity. I think the cricketing world will be looking forward to that South Africa series."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo