Strauss not expecting KP comeback

Pietersen, sacked by the England and Wales Cricket Board after the 2013-14 Ashes defeat, has set his heart on pushing for a return in time for this summer's rematch.

The 34-year-old signed for Surrey on Wednesday, to that end - and after indications from new ECB chairman Colin Graves that he may yet be considered again for selection, he is hoping a welter of county championship runs over the next two months could press his claims.

Strauss, however, predicts Pietersen's efforts will be in vain.

The dual Ashes-winning captain believes Pietersen's age and history of confrontation are against him, and suggests his only realistic chance of resuming his international career is if an "extraordinary" sequence of events first cost either or both of coach Peter Moores and Test captain Alastair Cook their jobs.

Strauss had his own difficult times with his fellow South Africa-born batsman, including the 2012 saga in which Pietersen admitted sending 'provocative' texts about his captain to opposition players.

The contents of Pietersen's autobiography, published five months ago and including much criticism of several ex-colleagues and management staff, may be another barrier to his recall.

Strauss told Sky Sports News: "If you just look at everything that has gone on in the past ... his book ... that's a significant hurdle he'll have to get over.

"Then also, from a cricketing point of view, in one-day cricket we've got to build towards the next World Cup.

"Kevin Pietersen (will be) 36 years of age, (so) I can't see how he would necessarily play in that.

"Also, in the Test match arena, our top five or six have all been in excellent form.

"So it's not as if there is an obvious place in the side for him either."

England will head to the West Indies next week, for three Tests, and Graves has already made it clear he will not tolerate defeat there against "mediocre" opposition.

Graves' hint that Pietersen's England career might not be finished after all is at odds, meanwhile, with all other public remarks from within the ECB.

Strauss appears impressed by Pietersen's willingness to play county cricket again, after agreeing his release from the majority of his Indian Premier League contract with Sunrisers Hyderabad.

But he will still be shocked if it leads to an England return.

"I think you can't fault his ambition," Strauss added.

"He's doing everything right, putting himself in position. He felt that Colin Graves offered him an olive branch, and he's taking it with both hands ... obviously he's going to have to go out there and score runs.

"But I have to say I still think it's very unlikely that he'll play for England again.

"It's going to take something extraordinary, England to lose a lot of games and for Pietersen to score a lot of runs - and probably for a captain or a coach, or both, to lose their jobs in the process."

Strauss senses too that it will be this summer or never for Pietersen, who will be 35 by the time the Ashes begin in July.

"I'd be surprised if he plays in this Ashes series - and if he doesn't, then it's counter-intuitive that he would then come back in the side when they'd be building again towards the next Ashes series in two-and-a-half years' time.

"There would have to be a lot of things that go wrong with the England cricket team between now and the start of the Ashes for him to come back."

  Andrew Strauss, right, sees no way back in the England squad for Kevin Pietersen, left
Andrew Strauss, right, sees no way back in the England squad for Kevin Pietersen, left