Pietersen sets his sights on being back for Sri Lanka Test

ENGLAND batsman Kevin Pietersen has confirmed he will be available for his country this summer despite admitting he has enjoyed his time away from the game.

The former captain has been recovering from an operation on a hernia problem which caused him to fly home from the World Cup in March before the team’s quarter-final exit at the hands of Sri Lanka.

Rather than compete in the Indian Premier League, Pietersen, who turns 31 in June, has been taking a break from the game but intends to be fit for the first Test of the summer against Sri Lanka on 26 May.

“I’ll start playing probably in the middle of May and try and get ready to prove my fitness for the first Test match,” he said. “I’m rehabbing three, four, five times a week trying to get things right, just making sure I get myself right, get myself strong, get myself fit.

“I’ve not had a break like this for seven years playing for England. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed.”

Pietersen’s England team-mate Stuart Broad, who was also forced to leave the World Cup early with a broken rib, intends to regain his fitness by playing for Nottinghamshire at the start of next month and insists this is a crucial summer for English cricket following their winter success in Australia.

“It is going to be a huge summer for us with India and Sri Lanka coming over,” Broad said. “We have a chance to become world No1 but only if we win our matches.”

Broad, meanwhile, revealed his future ambitions to captain England but backed current skipper Andrew Strauss to continue to lead the one-day team.

“I would love to do it at some stage,” said Broad. “But my personal belief is that Straussy should keep going. I believe there is a lot more to come from him. He has a lot to offer as England captain in all formats of the game.”