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Pietersen gets wrapped up in T20

Source - afp.com

Kevin Pietersen had a simple answer when asked if the prospect of earning one million dollars each in Antigua in November would make England players more selfish.

"We were joking when we were playing touch rugby before Friday's game about whether we will be playing touch rugby before the Antigua game," the star batsman explained.

"I said I'm going to come down to breakfast in a cotton wool suit that morning!"

Should England win a Twenty20 match against a Caribbean 'Super Stars' side, put together by businessman Allen Stanford at his own ground in Antigua on November 1, all 11 players will earn a million dollars each of the Texan billionaire's money.

South Africa-born Pietersen, unhappy at suggestions he might be barred from playing in future editions of the IPL in India, said cricket's shortest form was now no longer just a bit of fun.

"The Twenty20 World Cup South Africa (last year) - that was silly shots for silly games," said Pietersen.

"When it first came in everyone thought it was just something to go and have some fun with but it is now a huge, huge business", the 27-year-old Hampshire shotmaker added.

"As we've seen by the tournament in India and by what is happening in November and the (Twenty20) World Cup in England next year, it is a totally different kettle of fish now."

Pietersen, who made an unbeaten 42 off 41 balls in a nine-wicket thrashing of New Zealand at Old Trafford here Friday - England's first Twenty20 international since Stanford unveiled his plans at Lord's 48 hours earlier - appears well-placed to benefit from cricket's financial revolution.

But the man whose 158 against Australia at The Oval in 2005 helped secure the Ashes for England was confident about the future of Test matches.

"Test cricket is the best, it's amazing. I love the challenges over the five days and the different situations you get yourself into," Pietersen explained.

"That thrill of scoring a Test match hundred, nothing beats that."

The 2007 50-over World Cup in the Caribbean suffered in comparison to the shorter, more exciting, inaugural World Twenty20 later in the year.

"I think it (Twenty20) will be the new form of one-day cricket for sure," Pietersen said. "I reckon in the next couple of years 50 overs is probably going to be something of the past."

England one-day captain Paul Collingwood admitted the Antigua match was "scary" because the only thing riding on it was money - the losing side get nothing from Stanford for turning up.

But Pietersen downplayed suggestions it could lead to dressing room splits.

"I'm happy it's a 'winner-takes-all' situation. It is an absolute bonus fixture. There is no point in building it up to be this absolutely incredible game where you have to win. You are guaranteed to lose then.

"You can't think this is a game that you have to make sure you win to set yourself up for life. If you do well over a ten year period playing for England, right now, you will be financially sorted."

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