Sidelined England batsman Kevin Pietersen has signed up with county side Surrey for the upcoming English domestic season in a bid to return to the national side for the summer Ashes series against Australia. The flamboyant batsman who recently terminated his contract with Indian Premier League (IPL) team Sunrisers Hyderabad, is available to play all forms of cricket in the 2015 season.
Pietersen, 34, parted ways with the county side Surrey in September last year but was said to have remained on good terms with the team's director of cricket and former England cricketer, Alec Stewart. The flamboyant batsman, who has recently gone on record to say that he would do anything to get back into the national setup, was pleased to return to Surrey, a club 'very close to his heart'.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to be back at Surrey," Pietersen said. "It's a club very close to my heart and Alec Stewart, Graham Ford and everyone at the club has been exceptionally supportive. There is a fantastic group of lads here and hopefully we can deliver what the great Surrey fans want to see - lots of runs and comprehensive victories."
Pietersen, who hasn't represented England since the infamous 5-0 Ashes whitewash of 2013-14 following a falling out with the management, received an unlikely boost last week when incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves said that Pietersen would be considered providing he played county cricket. Pietersen, with 8,181 runs at 47.28 in 104 matches, remains England's leading run-scorer in the longest format of the game and maintains a reputation as a match-winner, something Alec Stewart was quick to acknowledge. "A Kevin Pietersen with ambitions to play for England and a real determination to score big runs for Surrey will be a huge asset to us."
Following their tour of West Indies, England are scheduled to face New Zealand in two Tests in May before starting their bid to reclaim the Ashes in July.