KP optimistic over injury as Ashes looms

ENGLAND batsman Kevin Pietersen yesterday eased fears he could miss the Ashes series, insisting he had made &ldquo;huge improvements&rdquo; in his recovery from an Achilles injury.<br /><br />But with just 12 days until the first Test with Australia in Cardiff Pietersen admitted he is still having difficulty running.<br /><br />The problem forced Pietersen to miss matches against the West Indies, on their recent tour of England, and at the World Twenty20, which finished last week.<br /><br />Pietersen sat out the tournament opener against Holland after the injury flared up unexpectedly on the morning of the match.<br /><br />Yet he has been encouraged by the strides made since then, and said he had taken every possible step to ensure he is ready for the Ashes.<br /><br />&ldquo;My Achilles is okay,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m waking up every single morning now absolutely fine and able to do all my exercises and routines and drills pain-free. I am skipping for minutes now but three weeks ago, on the morning of the Netherlands game, I couldn&rsquo;t get down the stairs at my house. The improvements have been huge and from the mental side of things that is important.&rdquo;<br /><br />However, the Hampshire player admitted some exercises were still posing him difficulties.<br /><br />&ldquo;I have been as professional as I can be on this programme. I am doing everything I can pain-free,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />&ldquo;The only thing I haven&rsquo;t been able to do is road run and that is something we will talk about in the next few days.&rdquo;