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Pietersen says injury was a blessing

Kevin Pietersen has admitted he was "falling out of love" with cricket before being sidelined by an Achilles injury during the summer's Ashes series.

The right-hander has endured a difficult 2009 during which he lost the England captaincy following his public falling out with then coach Peter Moores, before his Ashes campaign was cut short after just two Tests by an Achilles injury.

The right-hander was forced to undergo surgery on the complaint in July, but he believes the time out of the game since has served him well to refresh his mind.

Pietersen will make his return to the national team fold against his country of birth when England head off to South Africa for their winter tour next week, and is confident he will be fully fit to make an impact.

"This year has been one of the toughest of my career, with the captaincy debacle in January plus the injury," Pietersen told The Times.

"This break has refreshed my head and who knows how I'll come back as a player. My Achilles won't hamper me any more and I definitely feel fresh mentally.

"I'll be starting off really enjoying myself - and this year I haven't particularly enjoyed playing cricket because I was in pain and because of what happened in January. It's been a tough thing for me.

"I believe everything happens for a reason and these three months have happened to refresh me and knowing that I was sort of falling out of love with the game, it was a symbol or a sign for me to refresh and recharge my batteries."