Kevin Pietersen: Surrey sign ex-England batsman

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Pietersen signing a big plus - Stewart

Kevin Pietersen has rejoined Surrey for the 2015 season as he steps up his bid to earn an England recall.

He has signed a deal to play primarily first-class cricket and will appear in Surrey's County Championship opener against Glamorgan, from 19 April.

Pietersen, 34, wants to win back his England place in time for the Ashes series starting on 8 July in Cardiff.

"I would kick myself for a long time if I walked away now without having a go," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

Pietersen's mentor, former South Africa all-rounder Clive Rice, on Radio 5 live
"For whatever reason he causes upsets in the side. He can't go on causing upsets, he's got to be there performing and let the management manage him properly. When he was in Australia [in England's 5-0 Ashes defeat of 2013-14] the management of him was diabolical. When you've got someone who has played in 100 Test matches and he gets pushed off to third man and fine leg and you don't want him part of what's going on in the game, I'd rather get him into second slip and next to the captain, asking questions."

'Another shot'

Four-time Ashes winner Pietersen was told he was no longer part of England's plans in February 2014 following the 5-0 whitewash by Australia down under.

But he was given hope of a recall when incoming England & Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves told Sportsweek on 1 March Pietersen would be considered providing he played county cricket.

"Even if this does not work out and I do not get back in the England team, I will at least end my career knowing I gave it another shot," Pietersen, who is donating his Surrey wages to his charitable foundation, told the Telegraph.

He is planning to meet Graves face to face in a bid to "draw a line" under the past.

2015 Ashes fixtures
8-12 July: First Test, Cardiff
16-20 July: Second Test, Lord's
28 July-2 Aug: Third Test, Birmingham
6-10 Aug: Fourth Test, Nottingham
20-24 Aug: Fifth Test, The Oval

'World-class player'

Pietersen parted company with Surrey in September but remained on good terms with their South African coach Graham Ford and director of cricket Alec Stewart.

His new contract is focused on four-day cricket as Surrey bid for promotion from the second division but allows him to appear in Twenty20 and 50-over matches later in the season.

"He's a world-class player," said Stewart. "We've seen that for a long, long time now. He has ambitions to play for England.

"To do that, or even be considered, he has to score big runs and that's why we've signed him, to make sure he comes here, spends a lot of time in the middle, gets those hundreds, those double hundreds, and then after that it's down to the selectors."

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen played 13 Twenty20 Blast matches for Surrey in 2014

Working with Cook & Moores

The South Africa-born batsman is England's highest international run-scorer, with 13,797 runs across Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20s.

However, he was discarded last year when ECB managing director Paul Downton described him as "disengaged" and "disconnected" from the team.

National selector James Whitaker last week told the BBC: "We haven't had discussions at all about Kevin and he's not part of our plans."

Pietersen was critical of several players in his autobiography last year, while Test captain Alastair Cook - who was instrumental in his departure - said last week a Pietersen comeback was "very unlikely".

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Cook best leader for England - Swann

In his Telegraph column on Wednesday, Pietersen insisted he could work again with Cook and coach Peter Moores, who he fell out with in 2008.

"To make it clear, I never had any issues with Alastair Cook," said Pietersen. "I said in my book I was disappointed he could not look me in the eye during that meeting but there is no issue with me.

"He is a nice guy. He is one of England's greatest-ever cricketers. He has 25 Test hundreds. Of course I can play with Alastair again.

"Likewise, of course I can play under Peter Moores. When I was captain last time around, I simply told the board I needed to go out and concentrate on my batting.

"I felt I could not captain the team at that time but I should just carry on doing what I do out on the field. That is my job."

Twenty20 gun for hire

Pietersen has played for Surrey in every season since 2010 but left in September when it appeared he would only be available for three-and-a-half weeks in 2015, because of his IPL and Caribbean Premier League commitments.

The IPL starts on 8 April and Pietersen's new agreement with the Sunrisers means he will miss the side's league fixtures. However, he will be recalled should the team reach the knockout stages of the competition, which start on 19 May and finish with the final on 24 May.

Since his central contract was cancelled after the disastrous 2013-14 Ashes tour, Pietersen has had stints in the IPL, Australian Big Bash and Caribbean Premier League, but has not played first-class domestic cricket since June 2013.

England face New Zealand in two Tests in May before their quest to regain the Ashes starts in July.

Pietersen played in the victorious Ashes series in 2005, 2009, 2010-11 and 2013, as well as the 5-0 defeats in 2006-07 and 2013-14.

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