Kevin Pietersen breaks his silence as he prepares for comeback with England
The batsman has been out since March
Kevin Pietersen will return to county cricket today and to international cricket next week. By 10 July, he should be in England's side to face Australia in the first Test at Trent Bridge.
Suddenly, after weeks of worry and heartache it is all hunky dory on the Kevin front again. His troublesome knee, which forced him to return early from England's tour of New Zealand in March, has at long last responded to treatment and he will take the field for Surrey, themselves troubled, against Yorkshire at Headingley today in the Championship.
Pietersen has also been named as a likely starter in the second of England's two Twenty20 matches against New Zealand at The Oval. His appearance depends on how he comes through in Leeds.
And not only that. Pietersen will also break his silence today when an interview with his former team-mate and pal, Darren Gough, is broadcast on radio station talkSport.
For weeks, when it is true there might not have been much to say, Pietersen has been a reluctant interviewee – and actually for many months before that. His spat with England last year has changed his approach to public relations.
Pietersen tells Gough in the interview, which will go out on the Drivetime show today: "It's been extremely frustrating. No cricketer likes to miss cricket through injury. You'll go away to try and get out of the country and get some sunshine and you'll be there on holiday but you can't move.
"We were in Dubai on holiday and [his son] Dylan was wanting to swim and run around and I just couldn't do anything, so it was frustrating. It was great to have family time but it's not the same as being off uninjured."
One of his major disagreements with England was about their refusal to grant him time off from the team's busy schedule to spend more time with his wife, Jessica, and Dylan.
It may seem surprising that Pietersen is breaking his silence on a station which is not the broadcast partner of his employers, the England and Wales Cricket Board, rather than BBC Radio, which is. But Gough is a close friend and was best man at Pietersen's wedding.
Players are still allowed to speak to whom they wish despite Pietersen's occasional transgressions on Twitter, and he has also done a BBC 5 Live interview with another former player, Andrew Flintoff, which is being aired next week. It is understood that questions for the Gough interview were agreed and submitted before.
Pietersen said of today's much-awaited return: "I'm just going up to Yorkshire to get through these four days.
"The professional in me will want to score as many runs as possible, but the most important thing is to wake up each morning and know there is no issue with my knee and to know I've turned a big corner and can handle a day in the field."
His return today and next week is bound to exercise interest and Yorkshire are expecting a scrum of reporters and cameramen.
Next week's T20 against New Zealand at The Oval will be his first game for England at home since he was dropped for the final Test last summer after falling out with management, an event that has now been airbrushed from history by his apparent re-integration. It is as though the whole affair was an unfortunate misunderstanding.
Pietersen told Gough: "We did talk about it and we thought it would be good to get some international exposure, just get back into the international swing of things and to just get a lot of the nonsense out in the air – that I'm back playing."
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