The Ashes 2013 May 11, 2013

England buoyed by Pietersen fitness


England's Ashes hopes have been boosted by the news that Kevin Pietersen is provisionally scheduled to return to cricket on June 12 for Surrey against Sussex at Arundel.

Pietersen was forced home from the England tour of New Zealand and subsequently ruled out of the IPL, the home Test series against New Zealand and the Champions Trophy after he was diagnosed with bone bruising to his right knee. The ECB had previously suggested he would begin full training "by the middle of June".

A return against Sussex would allow him a minimum of three first-class games before the start of the Ashes. Surrey play Yorkshire in the Championship on June 21 before England take on Essex in a four-day warm-up game ahead of the first Test against Australia at Trent Bridge, which begins on July 10.

Micro-fracture surgery on the problem still remains a possibility but it is understood that Pietersen will be 100% fit on his return and there will not be any long-term implications for his involvement in all three formats for England.

Pietersen suffered the injury to his knee during a warm-up match at Queenstown ahead of the Tests against New Zealand and, although he played in the first two matches, he was ruled out of the decider in Auckland and returned home. A brace was fitted and rest prescribed but his return has proved more problematic.

The question of Pietersen's workload arose last summer when he retired from limited-overs cricket, citing the England schedule. He was subsequently persuaded to return - following a destabilising stand-off that saw him dropped from the squad - and was rested for the ODI and T20 series against New Zealand in February. In 2009, he missed three Ashes Tests after suffering an Achilles problem.

The possibility of Pietersen returning ahead of schedule comes after England named a squad to play New Zealand in the first Test at Lord's featuring Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann, who both underwent elbow surgery over the winter. As expected, Jonny Bairstow will continue to deputise for Pietersen in the middle-order.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on May 16, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    @davidpk :- "i have never heard of bruised bone"... That's a scary observation - never!... Where have you been living?... The only other name I've ever heard of is "bone contusions" - while bruising is the correct diagnosis, as that is what occurs along with swelling...

    Try watching heavy contact sports where it is fairly common - the various forms of football like AFL, NRL, Rugby, Gridiron - hyper-extension of joints can also easily cause bruising to the bone as will any sport that causes heavy jarring to the joints... Probably synchronized swimming is fairly safe from bone bruising, but there wouldn't be many sports or training regimes that would be free from the occasional injury...

  • Dummy4 on May 12, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    @frontfootlunge...who could argue with your objective analysis front foot ;). Your right to a certain degree in that Australia have reason to fear England's batting lineup with their 50+ averages though our young but dynamic attack could well be the perfect antidote and have been well coached by a genuine master so as not to fear anyone. England's bowlers though would have to play above themselves to instill fear in Australia as our batsmen are used to facing genuine quick bowlers both in the national side and in the domestic comp. This means that the medium pacers that England has (everyone bar Anderson) will have to extract prodigious movement from a very consistent 'McGrath like' line and length over the course of 10 test matches to be effective. It is definitely possible but is it the most likely outcome? Without answering that for you, try thinking deeper than your usual one eyed English supporters stance to ponder whether England might have any reason to fear Australia!

  • j on May 11, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    The Aussies must be quivering at the thought of a full strength England side which is stronger than the one that thrashed them in their own back yard last time. And all this as Australia's whitewashing at the hands of the same Indian team England had thrashed, means they are one of the weakest sides in world cricket. They remain unable to compete with the top six sides in the world, let alone the 2nd best side.

  • Sean on May 11, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Excellent, its all falling into place. For me the side pretty much picks itself for the first test (if fit) 1 Cook 2 Compton 3 Trott 4 Pietersen 5 Root 6 Bell 7 Prior 8 Broad 9 Bresnan 10 Swann 11 Anderson

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    Pietersen has actually denied this on twitter saying he has no knowledge of any such development.

  • shashwata on May 11, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    Excellent news for England. Hope KP really makes his presence felt in the Ashes in trademark KP style.

    I have really been keeping my fingers crossed on this injury business as the last thing you want to hear is some of your best players not playing the most important series (for the english and aussies atleast) of the year.

    So I am terribly hoping none of the players are bugged by injuries. Jimmy in particular HAS to be fit as a fiddle as he will be a key player for England to win the Ashes as well as the CT 2013. At present England probably need him to be fit more than any other player in the squuad.

  • John on May 11, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    I wonder whether this latest brush with mortality will start KP thinking about his future again. I wouldn't be surprised to see him retire from international limited-overs cricket again after the CT, or maybe he'll want to play the next WC. I wouldn't hold it against him regardless. He's getting older and playing fewer ODIs and T20Is could mean that he plays more Tests, which is my priority.

  • des on May 11, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Good news. I've missed his interesting news conferences and tweets after test matches.

  • Michael on May 11, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Great to hear about KP being ahead of schedule. This news should be a great fillip for England,and a shot in the arm for Surrey as they come to terms with Smith's injury. It was interesting to hear GD's remarks about Tremlett. On the logic of performance D'bach would be miles ahead for a place.

  • GARY on May 11, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    Great news, the sooner the better and with 3 first class games under his belt he should be about ready for the big show.

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