‘Confident’ Pietersen is ready for Ashes tour

ENGLAND star batsman Kevin Pietersen says he is “full of confidence” going into the Ashes after a recent spell in South Africa.

Pietersen joined Kwazulu Natal Dolphins in an attempt to rediscover his form, having been dropped from England’s last one-day team after a period in which he has failed to score a Test century since March 2009.

Pietersen said: “I felt brilliant in South Africa. I’m full of confidence going to Australia.

“It was amazing to be out there and to work with Graham Ford, a guy I’ve worked with since I was seven years old, a good family friend.”

Having played in the last Ashes tour of Australia in which England were humiliated 5-0, the former Nottinghamshire and Hampshire man is acutely aware of the need to properly prepare for the winter Tests.

He said: “There were a few of us involved in that, so we’ve handed over some sort of knowledge as to how we want to try and do better and be better prepared for what is thrown at us this winter and I’m sure we will do.”

Pietersen has also defended under-fire Australia captain Ricky Ponting who has faced calls to step down following recent losses and criticism from former team-mate Shane Warne.

Pietersen said: “Ponting is a great player and one of the greats of the game, when he feels it’s his time, then he calls it time.”

His comments were echoed by Australian all-rounder Marcus North who called the suggestion that Ponting should resign “laughable”.

North said: “Playing in a lot of different teams over the last 10 years I’ve never come across a captain as good as Ricky. It’s a silly question to me.”