Kevin Pietersen’s reconciliation with the England and Wales Cricket Board was finalised yesterday, with new limited-overs coach Ashley Giles confirming the star batsman has signed a full central contract.
The sight of Giles holding court as England coach in place of team director Andy Flower means the forthcoming one-day series against India is already a new beginning of sorts and the same can now be said for Pietersen.
He should play his first ODI since February 2012 in Rajkot tomorrow and will do so having put pen to paper on the same deal as England’s other senior players.
A turbulent 2012 saw Pietersen retire and un-retire from limited-overs internationals, give an unforgettably tense press conference at Headingley and be dropped for sending “provocative” text messages to South Africa players.
Almost incidentally, he also played some of the best innings of his career.
Since undergoing a process of “reintegration” – as prescribed by his ECB employers – he has been working on a short-term deal as opposed to the year-long contract handed to 10 other key figures in the autumn.
That was due to expire at the end of the month but, as expected, he is now on the same terms as his team-mates, with an agreement in place until September 30.
“Kevin has now signed up fully,” said Giles, who has just completed his first full week in his new role.
“He is fully back on board. It’s great news.
“Whatever happened in 2012, we’re moving into a new year now. It’s great for me to have him here (in India). His experience in this side in this part of the world is invaluable.”
Pietersen’s return from exile has been smoother than the protracted sequence of events that saw him dropped from the final Test of the summer against South Africa and miss the World Twenty20 despite having belatedly made himself available.
He appeared suitably contrite in a joint appearance with ECB chairman Giles Clarke in October, quickly earned his way back into the Test side for the pre-Christmas series in India and made a dashing 186 in Mumbai to underline his importance to the side.
Flower indicated in December that a permanent return and a full central deal was the likeliest outcome after his successful comeback and that was rubber-stamped in the last 24 hours.
There is some irony in the fact that, having formalised his continued commitment to the England cause, Pietersen will miss the next series after India. England head to New Zealand next and the 32-year-old has already been told he has been rested for the ODI and Twenty20 leg of that trip, before returning for the three-Test series.
There is nothing untoward in that decision, with England also leaving Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Jonathan Trott at home this month as part of their ongoing policy of workload management.
Unfortunately for Giles, his sides are more likely than Flower’s Test XI to be altered by the policy, but he accepts the current international schedules are too much for players who play across the three formats.
“I think it’s just a function of the era we are playing in,” said Giles.
“We have to look after our cricketers, particularly with the amount of cricket we have coming up.
“In the next 12-18 months it is imperative we look after our best players, both physically and mentally.
“If that means occasionally resting them or rotating them out of the side then that is the way it will be.
“But wherever there is injury, or rest, or rotation there is opportunity and it’s up to the young guys to show what they can do.”
West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul has signed a two-year contract with County Championship Division One side Derbyshire.
Currently rated as the No 2 Test batsman, Chanderpaul has scored over 10,500 runs in 146 test matches at an average of 51.67 and is expected to be available for all three domestic competitions throughout the 2013 campaign.
Chanderpaul has had previous spells in the county game with Durham, Lancashire as well as Warwickshire and as part of the deal Derbyshire have first option to keep the 38-year-old for a third season.
“I’m excited to be joining an ambitious club with a talented young side,” he said. “I was impressed with Karl Krikken’s vision for the team and am looking forward to linking up with them at the start of the season.”
The head coach was delighted with the acquisition as they look to establish themselves in Division One of the County Championship following last season’s promotion.
“Shivnarine’s statistics in all forms of the game speak for themselves and he has been one of the standout players on the world stage for a long time,” he said.
“He knows what it takes to be successful and, as well as his outstanding ability with the bat, there is no doubt Shivnarine will have a hugely positive effect on our talented young squad as we embark on the challenge of Division One cricket.”