Kevin Pietersen believes a stint at the IPL would have provided the ideal warm-up to England's international summer, but instead of playing for Deccan Chargers he is continuing his recovery from a double hernia in the slightly cooler surroundings of The Oval.
Pietersen's late-summer loan deal from 2010 was made into a permanent move to Surrey during the winter as he finally found himself a county having departed from Hampshire mid-season. However, although he appeared in his Surrey kit on Friday for the annual photocall it will be a while until he takes the field.
His target remains the first Test against Sri Lanka at Cardiff, starting on May 26, but he is frustrated at having to sit out IPL 4 which starts on April 8 - the same day as Pietersen's Surrey team-mates will be starting their Championship campaign against Northamptonshire.
"If I was fully fit I'd be on a plane tomorrow back to India for the IPL which I'm really going miss, it's a great tournament and would have been a really good lead up into the Test series having played international standard cricket," he told Surrey TV. "But it's lovely to be home and back in my own bed finally. We've had a real long winter, a gruelling schedule, and I think everyone is glad to be home."
Pietersen's winter ended earlier than England's World Cup campaign when he flew home following the group match against South Africa. At the time his departure was treated with a certain amount of scepticism - Andy Flower, the England team director, said he'd hoped Pietersen could 'bite the bullet' - but the subsequent surgery showed the problem was more severe than first thought.
"Against South Africa I just couldn't run anymore," he said. "I thought I had just one hernia which I knew about on the left hand side, but I found out I had a double when the surgeon opened me up. So it was no surprise I couldn't run and no surprise the painkillers weren't working."
Pietersen won't be rushing into any comebacks with bad memories of the problems he encountered recovering from his Achilles surgery in 2009 when the wound became infected and forced him back to hospital.
"I'm just guided by the doctors and physios. Nothing has changed, I'm looking to get back for the first Test," he said. "That's my goal and hopefully I don't have any hiccups like the last time with my Achilles."