Ashes 2013-14: Kevin Pietersen wants to play until 2016

Pietersen relishing prospect of 100th Test

England batsman Kevin Pietersen says he wants to play for his country until at least the 2015-16 tour of South Africa.

Pietersen, 33, will play his 100th Test in the Ashes opener against Australia, starting on Thursday in Brisbane.

A recurring knee injury had prompted speculation that he might retire at the end of the series, but he has set his sights on the 2015 World Cup, another home Ashes campaign, and beyond.

"As long as the body goes well, I'm good for it," Pietersen told BBC Sport.

Pietersen made his international debut in 2004, has starred in four Ashes series victories and helped England win the World Twenty20 in 2010.

He is England's leading run-scorer across all international formats with 13,503, but still has two goals he wants to fulfil.

"I had coffee with [England one-day coach] Ashley Giles and said to him - I want to be with you in 2015.

"I've been so lucky to have done everything with this great side. We won the Twenty20 World Cup, have beaten Australia home and away and beaten India in India.

"The only thing that hasn't been ticked is beating everybody in a World Cup 50-over tournament.

"I would love to be given that opportunity and I'm committed to Ashley and the England side to get there.

"Also, I haven't got home and away hundreds against every side - South Africa is the one I haven't got away from home - that is in 2015-16 so as long as the body goes well I'm good for it."

Pietersen's road to the 100 cap mark has been anything but smooth.

A short spell as captain ended in January 2009 following a rift with then coach Peter Moores, and in 2012 he was dropped from the side for sending text messages to South Africa players during a Test series between the sides.

Reflecting on his career with BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, Pietersen admitted he had learnt from his errors.

"Clearly you grow up and you definitely look back on things and think I would have done things differently," he said.

"I've learned from my mistakes in all walks of life, whether it is relationships, friendships, business - when you go through the bad stuff that is when you learn a lot more about yourself and about situations.

"When I've bumped my head I've learned. I wouldn't be sitting here on the eve of my 100th Test if I hadn't learnt and got things right. Where I am in my career right now, I'm incredibly happy."

Pietersen says his South African background made him a target during an ill-fated spell at Nottinghamshire between 2000 and 2004 at the start of his career in England.

"When I got to Nottingham one of the first songs I heard in the dressing-room was 'I've never met a nice South African'. I heard it day in day out.

"I'll talk about it when I've finished my career in a lot more detail but I copped a lot of stick and I had to have the self-drive and self-confidence to achieve what I wanted to achieve."

Since arriving in Brisbane, Pietersen has been ruthlessly mocked by the local Courier-Mail newspaper, which branded him "so arrogant not even his own team-mates like him".

But the Surrey right-hander, who will become the 10th member of England's 100 caps club when he takes to the field at the Gabba, says what is often seen as arrogance is in fact self-confidence.

"I can't help people thinking I'm arrogant," he said. "A lot of great sportsmen have that little bit of something to them that makes them try to be the best and want to be the best and wake up every single day wanting to improve.

"I call it confidence - confidence in my ability - wanting to perform every single day."

Australia's players, meanwhile, are fully aware of Pietersen's match-winning qualities, with all-rounder Shane Watson describing him as "one of the best batsmen in the world".

"He has scored runs in all conditions against everyone," added Watson, who confirmed he is fit to bowl at the Gabba following a hamstring injury.

"The way he takes on the game is something you enjoy watching - although not particularly when you are bowling or when he is playing against Australia.

"I know that's how the public see it. He is always taking on the game no matter what the situation and that is a great thing for cricket."

Opener David Warner added: "He has that swagger, he lets his ego take over and that has probably helped him.

"If he goes into his shell a little bit it probably doesn't help his cricket. We respect him as a cricketer because he is a fantastic player. As for what he does off the field, that's his own thing."

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