Kevin Pietersen's former Hampshire teammate John Crawley believes England's controversial number four remains focussed on his international career.
Pietersen retired from international limited-overs cricket earlier this summer, citing the heavy schedule demanded of players and his commitment to his young family.
He stated at the time that he wished to continue playing T20 matches and has been open in the press towards the possibility of returning to ODI and T20 internationals if compromises could be reached over his workload.
However, his hopes of a return to defend the ICC World T20 trophy he inspired England to win, as player of the tournament in 2010, were dealt a blow when he was left out of the 30-man preliminary squad for the competition, which takes place in Sri Lanka this Autumn.
The uncertainty has led to speculation over his full England future, but Crawley thinks his former Hampshire colleague will continue to score heavily in the longest format.
"It comes across that he wants to play and I think he does really want to play," said the ex-England middle-order batsman.
"He’s been superb for England but he's making decisions with his family in mind and I can appreciate that because it's a tough call to make."
Pietersen, who played for Hampshire between 2006 and 2010, has been in the headlines throughout his career, but Crawley came out in defence of the 31-year-old.
"Kevin stirs it up, but that’s jut the type of character he is," added Crawley, who played in 37 Tests for England.
"His margins are smaller for creating controversy - I guess he's a bit like [Crawley and Pietersen's former Hampshire captain] Shane Warne in that respect.
"But despite that, I don't think he's ever suffered as a player because of it, and there's a lot to say for that."
England's big series of the summer gets underway against South Africa at the Oval on Thursday 19 August, and Crawley believes the number one ranked team are favourites to defend top spot.
He added: "If England perform as they have they should be strong enough to win, particularly with the weather which will retain a huge amount of moisture in the pitches."
"Both have good seam attacks so the team who negates that at the top of the order will win for me, and I think England have an edge there."
Crawley sits on MCC's Youth Cricket committee and is a Mentor for Cambridge MCC University.
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