London: England batsman Kevin Pietersen will not mind walking off the pitch in the middle of a match in the Twenty20 World Cup in West Indies and fly back home if his pop star wife Jessica Taylor goes into labour with their first child.
England’s number three has made his intentions clear to the cricket board (ECB) that he will be on the next flight to Heathrow from the West Indies if he got a call from Jessica to attend the birth of their first child.
With the due date falls on the weekend of May 15 and 16 and World T20 final set for the second of those two days, there is the likelihood of a clash between these two.
“I’m definitely going to be there or at least be there as quick as I can,” said Pietersen.
“The only worry is I won’t get back in time. I love playing cricket and we understand it is my job, it is what I do. I’ve discussed the situation with a few players and they say as long as you are making an effort and see the kid as soon as you can then, if you do miss it then it is not a massive regret, but I’m going to make every effort,” Pietersen was quoted as saying by ‘The Telegraph’.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has given him the permission to return and have informally asked if they can fly in a replacement, which has tested the ICC’s view on paternity leave.
England have been in this position before. Michael Vaughan left halfway through a Test match at Headingley to be at his wife’s side for the birth of their first child.
England will start their campaign in the World Cup on Monday against hosts West Indies in Guyana.
Pietersen, who was the highest paid player in the Indian Premier League, said he enjoyed his stay in the tournament and “it was great to get back into some nick and feel like I used to feel.”
“That was the first time that had happened since the injury. I worked really hard in Bangladesh but when I got to the IPL everything clicked,” he said.
Despite being left out for three matches, Pietersen averaged 59, the highest of the tournament, with a strike rate of 150.
Pietersen is waiting to see if either his franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore will renew his contract or if he will have to be re-auctioned on his return to the tournament next year.
“Next year is a long winter but IPL is an incredible experience. We will wait and see,” he said.