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Kevin Pietersen still no closer to England cricket comeback

By David Clough

Kevin Pietersen is in negotiations to return to county cricket with Surrey - but he is still a long way from being considered by England again.

Test captain Alastair Cook and national selector James Whitaker both made that abundantly clear yesterday.

Within hours of new Surrey signing Kumar Sangakkara revealing he is expecting to play alongside Pietersen at The Oval this summer, Cook described an England return as "highly unlikely".

Whitaker reiterated previous remarks by himself and management colleagues, since Pietersen was sacked 13 months ago after England's 5-0 defeat in the 2013-14 Ashes, that the record-breaking South Africa-born batsman is "not part of our plans".

Pietersen may well soon be part of Surrey's again, however, a spokesman confirming: "We are still in discussions".

Meanwhile, South Africa cruised into the World Cup semi-finals with a one-sided thrashing of a sorry Sri Lanka in Sydney. Off-spinner JP Duminy took a hat-trick and leg-spinner Imran Tahir 4-26 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 133.

The Proteas then eased to their target for the loss of only one wicket in 18 overs, with Quinton de Kock making an unbeaten 78.

They go on to a last-four meeting with New Zealand or West Indies in Auckland on Tuesday.

South Africa captain AB de Villiers said: "It was a big pressure game and we showed everyone that we can do it."

Belfast Telegraph

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