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Pietersen a potential hit for Sixers as Akmal exits

KEVIN PIETERSEN could play for defending champions Sydney Sixers in this summer's domestic Twenty20 tournament, after Pakistan refused permission for Umar Akmal to turn out for the Champions League winners.

Akmal was only announced as a Sixers' recruit on November 7, but on Friday the Pakistan Cricket Board ruled he, Shahid Afridi (Sydney Thunder) and Saeed Ajmal (Adelaide Strikers) would have to take part in a Pakistan T20 event before the tour of India, instead of the Big Bash League.

The news has disrupted the Sixers' preparation for their title defence and chief executive Stuart Clark said he would target an international replacement for Akmal, with Pietersen a possibility.

''We have heard the news [about Akmal] but haven't received any official word yet so we are trying to work out what is happening,'' Clark said on Friday. ''They are international commitments so what can you do about it? Akmal was only going to play three of four games, not the whole season.

''But he is a world-class player and we would like to replace him with one. We have just added Michael Lumb and we could bring him forward, and Kevin Pietersen is a possibility. But you would have to look at the window to see whether he fits. Put it this way, we will scour the world to see who fits.''

Pietersen was recalled to the England side for this week's first Test against India in Ahmedabad after being dumped from the team for sending text messages to South Africa's players during their recent Test series.

England's tour of India takes a break over Christmas between December 22 and January 11, opening the door for Pietersen to make a cameo with the Sixers. The Big Bash continues over that period, and if Pietersen is not needed for the second half of the tour it would also boost his appeal.