Kevin Pietersen signs deal with Surrey

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The Independent Online

England batsman Kevin Pietersen has signed to play for Surrey next season.

The 30-year-old, who is currently in Australia for the Ashes series, has agreed a deal with Surrey until September 2011, a spokesman for the county confirmed to Press Association Sport.

Pietersen spent the end of the 2010 season on loan at the Brit Oval after announcing his plans to quit Hampshire at the end of the campaign.

Pietersen has been struggling to rediscover with any consistency the world-beating form he brought to the England team before the Achilles injury he suffered mid-Ashes in July last year.

He has not scored a Test century since the West Indies series in March 2009.

The South African-born star, who still averages just over 49 in Tests, was dropped by the national team for the one-day series against Pakistan at the end of August.

Pietersen joined Hampshire from Nottinghamshire in 2004.

After his loan spell at Surrey he had a brief stint last month playing for South African side Kwazulu Natal Dolphins in a bid to regain his form ahead of the Ashes.

England and Australia meet in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on Thursday.

Pietersen, speaking after sending his new contract back from Australia, told Surrey's official website: "I'm delighted to be playing for Surrey next season, as I really enjoyed my time with them at the end of this year.

"I hope I can get some games in over the summer and spend time at this great club, meeting more of the staff and supporters.

"I look forward to catching up with the guys when I get back from the Ashes."

Pietersen, whose Surrey deal will run concurrently with his England central contract, has fond memories of the Oval, notably scoring an Ashes-winning century there in 2005.

Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon revealed he had already been in contact with the England management in an effort to maximise the number of appearances Pietersen will be able to make for the county.

"Kevin Pietersen is a star, in cricketing terms he's a giant of a man and I think it's going to help us hugely both on and off the field," he added on Surrey TV.

"I think we'll probably get him for a championship match at the end of the World Cup and before the Test matches start in May and also I've talked to the England management about releasing Kevin for a couple of home Twenty20 matches.

"So I think we will see him. He'll be a tremendous draw when he does play and it'll also be great help to us commercially off the field."

Sheldon added: "We've been in contact this last week as we've moved towards signing the contract.

"He's bubbling with enthusiasm, he's obviously very excited about the Ashes as well.

"But I know that coming to Surrey County Cricket Club is very important to him and it's very important to us too."