Kevin Pietersen’s reconciliation with the England and Wales Cricket Board was finalised yesterday, with new limited-overs coach Ashley Giles confirming the star batsman had signed a full central contract.
The sight of Giles holding court as England coach in place of team director Andy Flower means the forthcoming one-day series against India is already a new beginning of sorts and the same can now be said for Pietersen. He should play his first ODI since February 2011 in Rajkot on Friday and will do so having put pen to paper on the same deal as England’s other senior players.
A turbulent 2012 saw Pietersen retire and un-retire from limited-overs internationals, give an unforgettably tense press conference at Headingley and be dropped for sending “provocative” text messages to South Africa players. Almost incidentally, he also played some of the best innings of his career.
Since undergoing a process of “reintegration”, he has been working on a short-term deal as opposed to the year-long contract handed to ten other key figures in the autumn.
That was due to expire at the end of the month but, as expected, he is now on the same terms as his team-mates, with an agreement in place until September 30.
“Kevin has now signed up fully,” said Giles, who has just completed his first full week in his new role. “It’s great news. It’s great for me to have him here [in India]. His experience in this side in this part of the world is invaluable.”
Pietersen’s return from exile has been smoother than the protracted sequence of events that saw him dropped from the final Test of the summer against South Africa and miss the World Twenty20 despite having belatedly made himself available.
There is some irony in the fact that, having formalised his continued commitment to the England cause, Pietersen will miss the next series after India.
England head to New Zealand next and the 32-year-old has already been told he has been rested for the ODI and Twenty20 leg of that trip, before returning for the three-Test series.