Pietersen return motivated by his desire to avenge Ashes whitewash

Ross McLean
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CONTROVERSIAL batsman Kevin Pietersen insists his motivation to return to England is fuelled by a desire to wrestle the Ashes from the grasp of Australia.

Surrey yesterday re-signed Pietersen in a deal which will see the 34-year-old primarily focus on red-ball cricket in a bid to force his way back into the England reckoning ahead of the summer series against Australia. Four-time Ashes winner Pietersen was a member of the England side whitewashed by their bitter rivals during the winter of 2013/14, a disastrous series which preceded the cancelling of his central contract last February.

The South African-born batsman, who has notched 23 Test centuries, is England’s highest international run-scorer across all formats of the game, although Pietersen accepts an avalanche of high scores in the domestic game is far from guaranteed.

“I would love to win back the Ashes for England because it did not feel right ending by being belted by Australia and not having the opportunity to redeem it,” he said. “I might not play well enough to get back in but I want to give this a go because I am desperate to play for England again.”

Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart, who played 133 Test matches for England during a 14-year international career, believes the signing provides mutual benefits for club and player.

“He has ambitions to play for England,” said Stewart. “To do that, or even to be considered, he has to score big runs and that’s why we’ve signed him, to make sure he comes here, gets those hundreds, those double hundreds, and then after that it’s down to the selectors.”

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