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My career is 'on the way down' admits Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen has admitted that he may never reach the heights he did previously as an international batsman.

The England player is hoping to make the most of his brief stint with South African side the Dolphins ahead of the Ashes in Australia and is desperate to get back to form after a miserable summer.

"I am out here now to try and put things right, to spend some time in the middle and work a lot harder than I have worked before so that I am in the best nick possible come the Ashes tour," he said.

"My role here is not just for my own benefit. Hopefully it will also benefit some of the guys who want to ask questions and want to speak to me about playing on the big stage. It is time to start giving back and to realise that there are a lot of young players that do look up to senior players. I am 30 years old now. I have probably got to the top of the fence and am on the way down now. It is nice if you can help somebody else."

Pietersen, who last scored a Test century on the tour of West Indies in March 2009, was dropped for the recent limited-overs series against Pakistan. He was then loaned to Surrey, where he showed signs of returning to form and he will be desperate to kick on from that in South Africa.

The first of his two games for his former club will come against the Warriors in the city of his birth, Pietermaritzburg, starting tomorrow. A week later he will play against the Titans in Durban.

Looking ahead to the trip Down Under, he conceded that England will be second-favourites, but was confident they could succeed. He said: "We are definitely underdogs because Australia in Australia is an incredible cricket team. We are quietly confident that we can put on a really good show. I think we have got a really good squad that has matured a lot. It has become a really tight unit, all the guys get on well and when the going gets tough, as I know it does when you tour Australia, we have a unit that will stand together."