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June 20, 2013
Kevin Pietersen, who returns to first-class action for Surrey against Yorkshire at Headingley on Friday, is poised to make his England return against New Zealand next Thursday on his home ground at The Oval.
He has been named in a 14-strong squad for two T20 internationals against New Zealand, but is only scheduled to play in the second match on June 27.
Eoin Morgan captains a squad which includes two uncapped players in Yorkshire's Gary Ballance and the Warwickshire fast bowler Boyd Rankin and which, Pietersen apart, does not include any player likely to figure in the first Investec Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge on July 10
It would be his first match for England since the Wellington Test against New Zealand in March after which he broke down with a bruised knee bone, causing him to miss the IPL, start of the English season and the Champions Trophy.
Pietersen will join the squad for the second match provided he successfully completes what will be a rare Championship outing for Surrey - back on the Headingley ground nearly 11 months after his complaints about dressing room tensions led to a prolonged stand-off with officialdom.
The squad is also notable for the inclusion of Ben Stokes, who was sent home from the Lions tour of Australia in February after two breaches of discipline, and Alex Hales, who was disciplined but not sent home after an incident on the same tour and who has been so out of form this season that he has been dropped from Nottinghamshire's Championship side.
Rankin announced his retirement from Ireland cricket at the end of 2012 but, until he plays for England, could reverse that decision without serving any qualification period. Aged 29 in a couple of weeks and with a history of injury problems, his inclusion in an England team would be highly likely to close the door on a Ireland return.
Geoff Miller, England's national selector, said: "With an intense period of cricket coming up we are conscious that we need to manage the workloads of our players throughout the summer and this NatWest series gives an opportunity for players who have performed well in domestic cricket and on the England Performance Programme and with the Lions to step up and test themselves in an international environment.
"New Zealand are a talented limited-overs side and with a World T20 competition less than a year away this series gives us a chance to look at a number of different options."
England squad: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Michael Lumb (Nottinghamshire), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Tredwell (Kent), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Luke Wright (Sussex)
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