London, Aug 8 (IANS) England batsman Kevin Pietersen is keen on playing the Indian Premier League's entire next edition at the expense of the home series against New Zealand, and hinted that he might even call it quits to Test cricket if England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) rejects his request.
If Englishmen think that the key batsman is holding his side to ransom by threatening to quit Test cricket, the Australians see the development as an unexpected boost to their Ashes hopes.
The South African-born Pietersen dropped a bombshell Monday at the end of the drawn Headingley Test against South Africa, saying he would decide whether he would continue to play for England after the third Test of the ongoing series.
Asked at a news conference if the third Test at Lord's could be his last, Pietersen said: "Anything's possible. It would be a huge shame. I love playing Test cricket for England but... we'll see."
"For me, the saddest part about all this is that the spectators just love watching me play and I love playing for England."
Pietersen, who has already quit One-Day Internationals (ODI), is unhappy that the ECB has not included him in England's provisional list of 30 for the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka next month.
Pietersen said in June, a month after quitting ODIs, that he was still keen on playing the T20 World Cup. He explained that he did not really want to quit T20 Internationals, but his ECB contract did not allow him to pick and choose limited-overs cricket.
Former England captain and fast bowler Bob Willis hit out at Pietersen, saying he is holding England to ransom.
"It's a mess, he's clearly got his nose severely out of joint by not being included in England's initial squad for the Twenty20 World Cup," Willis told Sky Sports.
"But he also wants to play fully in the IPL (Indian Premier League), which clashes directly with England's home series with New Zealand next May. He wants to earn his $2.5 million and he is holding England to ransom."
Pietersen, named Man-of-the-Match for his strokeful 149 in the second Test against South Africa at Leeds, said Monday he was in discussions with the ECB over his future.
"It's tough being me, playing for England," the 32-year-old said.
"It's absolutely 100 per cent not about money... there are clear things that I'm discussing but there are other issues that need to be sorted. You'll find out soon enough."
Pietersen said his talks centre on his participation in the IPL where he has a lucrative contract with the Delhi Daredevils.
Pietersen, who scored his 21st Test century in the second match against South Africa, passed 7,000 Test runs at Leeds Saturday. Only Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoffrey Boycott have scored more tons for England.
Mike Gatting, another former England captain, said it would be sad if Pietersen quit the Test scene.
"I'm not sure why he wants to quit Test cricket now but that's up to KP," Gatting told the Sky Sports.
The South African expat is livid that confidential details of his negotiations with the ECB have become public knowledge.
"There's always speculation. You can read my Twitter feed, you speculate about my life all day every single day," he said. "I am going to make some decisions that are going to make me very happy."
"It was blamed on me before the Test series that I was grabbing headlines."
"Did I leak anything about the meetings I was having with the ECB? I never spoke to the media but it was me grabbing the headlines and journalists talking about me," Pietersen said.
"I never spoke a single word about anything that happened behind closed doors. So, you guys are always going to speculate and make me out to be the bad guy."
Averaging 50 from 88 Tests, Pietersen claims it is not a money issue.
"It's absolutely 100 per cent not about money," he said. "The politics is what I have to deal with personally. It's tough being me playing for England."