Championship bowlers scent Pietersen's blood.
Byline: David Clough
THE new LV= County Championship season will be a searching test for all involved - including Kevin Pietersen when he returns for Surrey this month.
One of Pietersen's immediate opponents, in his first championship foray since 2013, will be Dean Cosker as the superstar batsman's bid to reclaim his England place takes him to Wales on April 19 to face Glamorgan.
Veteran left-arm spinner Cosker will be relishing the opportunity too, to try to put one over on the 34-yearold - as he has already done twice.
Cosker, speaking at the media launch of the new championship season, was one of several representatives from counties in both divisions to extol the enduring virtues of the fourday domestic format.
He belongs to a breed who have famously had considerable success against the South Africa-born recordbreaker, and Cosker will naturally be intent on a little more when Pietersen arrives in Cardiff on his mission to attract the attention of England's selectors again.
"Luckily enough, we've got a leftarm spinner that might be able to get him out," Cosker said, with a grin. "That's the plan." Some of Cosker's colleagues could be forgiven for extra motivation against Pietersen, not just because he is such a high-profile victim for a burgeoning CV but perhaps also after some of his comments in recent weeks.
The main narrative of the winter months, as England fell badly short at the World Cup, has been Pietersen's renewed hope of a Test recall thanks to apparent encouragement from new ECB chairman Colin Graves.
In and among, however, Pietersen also referred to some who ply their trade in county cricket as "muppets" who might be better employed elsewhere. Cosker has not taken offence, but will be determined nonetheless to provide a searching examination of Pietersen's England credentials.
"I don't think professional players take that on board," the 37-year-old said. "Every professional cricketer has that professional pride, so I don't think it needs anyone to rile them in that way.
"I've always been taught to respect the game in any way you can. As soon as you start disrespecting the sport, then it gets a little bit awkward.
"It's respecting your opposition, whoever they are, and I'm sure Kevin has played against worse, and better, players than myself."
Surrey's Kevin Pietersen may <B regret referring to certain 'muppets' in county cricket