Kevin Pietersen set to return for NZ T20 series
Kevin Pietersen is set to give England a pre-Ashes boost by returning for the second and last match of the national team's Twenty20 series against New Zealand this month.
The South African-born batsman, who has been out of action since March because of a knee injury, was included in a 14-man squad announced by England today after recently returning to training. The two T20s will be held at The Oval in London, on June 25 and 27.
Pietersen will be available for the second T20 provided he completes a four-day English county championship match for Surrey starting Friday, the England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement.
Eoin Morgan will captain England in the series as regular skipper Stuart Broad will be rested, while batsman Gary Ballance and paceman Boyd Rankin - two uncapped players - were also included in a squad lacking most of the country's Ashes contingent and featuring many T20 specialists.
"With an intense period of cricket coming up, we are conscious that we need to manage the workloads of our players throughout the summer," national selector Geoff Miller said. "New Zealand are a talented limited-overs side and, with a World T20 competition less than a year away, this series gives us a chance to look at a number of different options."
If he comes through his county game and then the second T20, Pietersen will also have a four-day Ashes warm-up match against Essex to prove his fitness ahead of the first test against Australia, which starts July 10 in Nottingham.
Pietersen, who averages nearly 50 in test cricket, has been practising in the nets at Surrey. His latest session was conducted alongside former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who is playing for the southern county this season.
"Todays net was possibly one of the best I've ever had..," Pietersen said on Twitter. "The GREAT Ricky Ponting giving me throw downs.. He wants me in form for Ashes! Oops!"
ENGLAND: Eoin Morgan (captain), Gary Balance, Ravi Bopara, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Kevin Pietersen, Boyd Rankin, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes, Luke Wright.