Pietersen back in action as he targets England return

Kevin Pietersen aims to show England what they have been missing – and what they might soon be getting again – when he returns to action for the Delhi Daredevils in the Champions League Twenty20 competition in South Africa today.

The controversial 32-year-old batting star spent the past month commentating on the ICC World T20 tournament in Sri Lanka but now it is time for him to get out in the middle again and do what he does best in a competition featuring Yorkshire, who are in action again on Tuesday against Sydney Sixers.

Delhi start the group stages at Centurion against the Kolkata Knight Riders but how long Pietersen is with them could depend on the reintegration process he has agreed to prior to an England comeback.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In what he has called “a horrible situation for all involved,” Pietersen has not been part of the international set-up since it was revealed he had sent text messages to South Africa players during the summer series.

Last week, the England and Wales Cricket Board released a statement saying Pietersen would undertake a programme of reintegration after which selectors “will consider Kevin for future matches”.

He in turn stated: “I’d just like to take this opportunity to apologise to my team-mates and all the England supporters.

“Thankfully, we have drawn a line under it and it’s time to move forward.

“Playing cricket for England is the pinnacle of any cricketer’s career and I want an opportunity to do that again as soon as possible.

“Some of my proudest and best moments of my life have been in an England shirt and I want them to continue for as long as possible.

“I’m entirely committed to completing the reintegration process we have agreed over the coming weeks and resuming my England career in all formats, hopefully until the World Cup in 2015, as long as my body allows.”

England, with Alastair Cook as Test captain in place of the retired Andrew Strauss, fly out in less than a fortnight for a tour of India and while Pietersen is not expected back for the four Tests and two Twenty20 games before Christmas, the five-match one-day series at the start of January is seen as a possibility.

Stuart Broad, captain of the T20 side unable to retain their world title, said earlier this week: “The team have no issues with KP coming back if the management decide he’s ready to.

“It’s in their hands at the moment. There are some meetings going on behind closed doors and we’re waiting to see the outcome of those, but from the team’s perspective his integration will be easy.

“Ultimately, we’re playing cricket and we want guys who will score runs and take catches to help England win. Whatever’s happened has happened.

“We pride ourselves on being a strong dressing room and I’m sure that if he came back for India or New Zealand, or whenever it is, that things will be fine within the team.”

James Anderson believes England need Pietersen to help them reclaim top spot in the Test rankings and would relish lining up alongside the free-scoring batsman in the first Test against India in Ahmedabad next month.

“If he is there then brilliant,” said the fast bowler.

“We want to get back to No 1 and we need our best players to do that.

“Kevin is one of our best.”

Anderson clearly feels it is time to move on from the Pietersen saga and focus on the challenge in India that lies ahead.

Anderson joked that the re-integration period “sounds like he is an offender being released into the community”.

Anderson’s England team-mate Graeme Swann said he was disappointed about how the Pietersen dispute overshadowed the end of Strauss’s international career.

“The biggest shame for me was that it was going to be Strauss’s last Test regardless,” he said.

“He is such an unbelievable servant to our game and such a brilliant captain and for him to then have his last match tarnished by the whole sorry affair is a great shame for me. He deserved a lot better than that in his last game.”

Surrey have signed veteran Yorkshire-born left-arm spinner Gary Keedy from Lancashire.

The 37-year-old made over 400 appearances for Lancashire and claimed more than 800 wickets in all competitions.