Pietersen glad to be back


Kevin Pietersen has spoken of his relief at returning to international action after being included in the England squad for next week’s Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand.

Pietersen had been unavailable to England since March due to a knee injury.

The South Africa-born shotmaker is regarded as the most talented batsman in the England set-up and has scored 7 499 runs, including 22 hundreds, in 94 tests at an impressive average of 49.01.

In T20 internationals, he has scored 1 176 runs at an average of 37.93.

Pietersen, 32, was included Thursday in England’s squad for the Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand at his Surrey home ground of The Oval in south London.

He will be available for the second match on June 27 provided he successfully completes a four-day CountyChampionships game for Surrey away to Yorkshire beginning on Friday, the England and Wales Cricket Board said Thursday.

In an interview with Talksport Radio presenter and former England fast bowler Darren Gough, due to be broadcast on Friday, Pietersen – regarded as a key member of the test side that will begin the defence of the Ashes against Australia next month – was delighted to be back in the Twenty20 squad.

“It’s great. We did talk about it and we thought it would be good to get some international exposure, just get back into the international swing of things and to just get a lot of the nonsense out in the air,” Pietersen said.

“It’s a perfect opportunity at The Oval, it’ll be the second game on the Thursday and it’ll just be nice to get back out there and whack a few balls, if I whack a few, and run around on the field, just get that buzz again, so I’m very happy.”

But before he can return to international duty, Pietersen, whose injury meant he has missed England’s run to Sunday’s one-day Champions Trophy final against India at Edgbaston, must first come through Surrey’s four-day match in Leeds.

“I’m just going up to Yorkshire to get through these four days,” he said. “The professional in me will want to score as many runs as possible, but the most important thing is to wake up each morning and know there is no issue with my knee and to know I’ve turned a big corner and can handle a day in the field.

“That’s the only thing that’s not been tested. I can bat in the nets and I’ve done all the fielding drills you can do, but it’s not the same as being in the field for 90 overs.

“It’s been extremely frustrating. No cricketer likes to miss cricket through injury. It’s one of those breaks that you have and it’s just a frustrating time because you have the break, but it’s not a break because you’re rehabbing, you’re in a brace, you just can’t get up to much.”

Pietersen was briefly dropped from the England side during last year’s series at home to South Africa after allegedly sending text messages critical of then England captain Andrew Strauss, who has since retired, to opposition players.

But he added this latest lay-off had been almost as frustrating.

“You’ll go away to try and get out the country and get some sunshine and you’ll be there on holiday but you can’t move,” the ex-England captain said.

“We were in Dubai on holiday and (my son) Dylan was wanting to swim and run around and I just couldn’t do anything, so it was frustrating.

“It was great to have family time but it’s not the same as being off uninjured,” he added.