Kevin Pietersen. -Photo by AFP

COLOMBO: Axed England batsman Kevin Pietersen hopes to be playing again for England by the time the tour of New Zealand starts in February next year, he said on Friday.

In a Twitter conversation with New Zealand rugby union star Dan Carter, Pietersen wrote: “Hoping alls sorted & I'm on the NZ tour in Feb. If so I'll bring you a gun of a bat!”

Pietersen was cast into international exile after sending text messages to South Africa players that contained criticism of then England skipper Andrew Strauss during the recent Test series.

With reports circulating that Pietersen had also fallen out with several of his team-mates, he was also axed for the ongoing World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka and next month's tour of India.

England are due to play three Tests, three ODIs and two T20s in New Zealand next February and March.

England's new Test captain Alastair Cook said on Thursday that Pietersen remained in talks with England cricket board officials as the controversial batsman fought to save his international career.

Media reports said that England officials, Hugh Morris and David Collier, may speak to Pietersen in Sri Lanka, where the batsman is working as studio expert for the host broadcaster of the World Twenty20.

Cook conceded England's hopes of winning the four-Test series in India had been hit by Pietersen's absence.

“That is a given,” Cook said. “Kevin has proved in all conditions around the world that he is a world-class player. His record suggests that in all forms of the game.

“It is a sad circumstance. Clearly he is a world class player and he is not playing for England at this precise moment in time.

“He will be missed but it gives opportunities to other players and they can do well. There is no reason these guys can't fill the gap there.”

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