Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen last played for England in 2014Getty

England's most controversial cricketer, Kevin Pietersen could be tempted to play for South Africa if his English exile continues, claimed former Three Lions fast-bowler Darren Gough.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Gough said, "I think he would be tempted, given the way he has been treated, or the way he thinks he has been treated over the past few years."

"He is not going to play county cricket this year unless somebody comes out of the blue and offers him a ridiculous fee. He definitely won't play county cricket but he might play T20.

"He's played out in South Africa this year and did brilliantly. They absolutely love him out there. All these people who think Graeme Smith hates him (are wrong), they are like best mates. He is quite high up in South African cricket. It wouldn't surprise me if they tried to persuade him to play," he further added.

Pietersen, who is currently playing for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), last played for England in 2014 before being sacked, and has been told on numerous occasions that the door is closed on his international career. England's one-day international and T20 skipper Eoin Morgan, recently confirmed in an interview that there was no way back for the mercurial batsman in the English setup.

Under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, once a player has represented a test-playing country, he must wait four years to re-qualify for another side. That would leave the 35-year-old free to represent the country of his birth in two years' time.