Pietersen targets Tests in South Africa

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen has underlined his determination to make the plane for England's tour of South Africa in November.

Pietersen admits he is frustrated by setbacks in his recovery from surgery on his Achilles tendon. But he has not given up hope of being fit in time for the start of a South Africa trip that will feature two Twenty20s, five ODIs and four Tests.

"I am trying to get as fit as possible as quick as I can," Pietersen said. "I have had a few setbacks and I am really frustrated. It will be a couple of weeks before it totally heals over – the next 10 to 14 days – then I can start working really hard. The timescale is difficult but I will definitely be doing everything I can to get on that first plane to South Africa, which is at the end of October. I might be a few days off that but I will certainly be in the Test squad. The one-dayers I am really pushing for but the Twenty20s might be a rush."

The Pietermaritzburg-born batsmen is understandably keen to play a part in the tour against a side heading the world Test rankings and lying third in the one-day rankings. "For obvious reasons, it is a very important trip for me," Pietersen said. "For the team as well after the Ashes to take the momentum forwards. We want to have our best team out there."

Pietersen missed the last three Tests of the Ashes series and the one-day series against Australia and is continuing his rehabilitation while England compete in the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

"I have missed a lot of cricket and it is frustrating now because I just want this right," he added, "but I have got to make sure I come back fresh, having recharged my batteries, because the schedule is non-stop."