World Cup 2015 champions Australia have already announced their 17-man squad for the upcoming Ashes series this summer and with the form they are in; England will need to muster up all courage to face the music of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. But England still has a slight chance if they play to their best and Kevin Pietersen stars with the bat. Yes, the South Africa-born cricketer who was exiled from English duties after the 2013 Ashes series has returned to play for Surrey in County Championship Division Two this season in a bid to win a Test recall for England’s Ashes showdown.
ECB managing director Paul Downton insisted Pietersen will not be brought back into the fold, while Test captain Alastair Cook rated the prospect “highly unlikely”, but there is still a chance for Pietersen who gave up his multi-million dollar IPL deal to fight back for his England cap.
Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart stated that ‘KP’ has to score runs if he has to win back a England Test cap. “If England are winning, they have a good West Indies tour which we expect, then it’s going to take an injury or a huge loss of form for a vacancy to become available,” Stewart told BBC Radio Five Live. “But all Kevin can do and, that’s what he’s said to us, he’s going to score runs, sit back and see what happens.”
Pietersen was reported to have fallen out with several senior members of the England squad before he was axed, but Surrey director of cricket Stewart claimed he has never had any problems with his attitude.
“He’s been as good as gold with us. If he was a bad character we wouldn’t have had him,” Stewart said. “Whenever he’s been with us he has been outstanding. He’s helped the youngsters, he’s been in the nets, he’s put on batting clinics and he’s tried his heart out. So hopefully, and I have no reason to disbelieve it, he will be exactly the same this time, if not even more hard working and desperate to score runs.”
The 34-year old has amassed 8181 runs in 104 Tests so far and was their highest scorer during the last Ashes series with 294 runs. Despite England being rock steady in Tests, they face an uphill task in regaining the Ashes against Aussies who are in form of their life.