Pietersen races against time for South Africa
Kevin Pietersen has revealed his surgically-treated Achilles has yet to completely heal, and faces a "difficult time-scale" to be fit for the opening stages of England's winter tour of South Africa. Pietersen had initially hoped to take part in the Champions Trophy after his right Achilles was operated on in July, but an infection a month later set back his recovery time considerably.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Pietersen said the healing process had been frustrating, but expressed confidence that he would be able to return to training within a fortnight. "I am trying to get as fit as possible as quick as I can. I have had a few setbacks and I am really frustrated. It will be a couple of weeks before it totally heals over - the next 10 to 14 days - then I can start working really hard.
"The time-scale is difficult but I will definitely be doing everything I can to get on that first plane to South Africa which is at the end of October. I might be a few days off that but I will certainly be in the Test squad. I am really pushing for the one-dayers, but the Twenty20s might be a rush."
Pietersen is understandably enthused at the prospect of completing his first Test tour of South Africa. His maiden ODI tour of his country of origin remains one of his career highlights, with three centuries coming from just five innings at a time when South African sentiment was firmly against him. Pietersen scored two further centuries against the South Africans in the home Test series last year, during which he was elevated to the England captaincy.
"For obvious reasons, it is a very important trip for me," he said. "For the team as well after the Ashes to take the momentum forwards. We want to have our best team out there.
"I have missed a lot of cricket and it is frustrating now because I just want this right but I have got to make sure I come back fresh, having recharged my batteries, because the schedule is non-stop."