Pietersen to prepare for Ashes in South Africa

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/pietersen_ashes.jpg' class='caption'> Out-of-form Pietersen is seeking permission to join South African provincial team Kwazulu-Natal Inland to prepare for the Ashes.

Updated: September 09, 2010 07:05 IST
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Out-of-form England batsman Kevin Pietersen is seeking permission to join South African provincial team Kwazulu-Natal Inland to prepare for the Ashes, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.

Pietersen wants clearance from Cricket South Africa to return to his former home to play for Kwazulu-Natal Inland in two four-day matches in October.

The 30-year-old England star was born in Pietermaritzburg, where Kwazulu-Natal Inland is based.

"I'm extremely keen to get as much cricket as possible under my belt before a challenging and exciting winter,"

Pietersen said yesterday. "My sole focus is to continue playing a leading role for England and joining Natal is the perfect opportunity to prepare in excellent conditions immediately before the Ashes.

"These two matches would enable me to work on my game against the Kookaburra ball in southern hemisphere conditions which is the ideal preparation for Australia."

Pietersen is currently on loan at Surrey from fellow English county side Hampshire.

He is hoping to play for Kwazulu-Natal Inland against North West from October 7-10 and against Eastern Province from October 14-17 before England's tour of Australia begins November 5.

The first of five Ashes tests starts November 25.

England Team Director Andy Flower said: "We're very pleased Kevin is seeking to get some more high quality cricket in at a crucial period before the Ashes.

"We are well aware of Kevin's attention to detail and thoroughness when it comes to preparation and he would gain a great deal from working on his batting against tough opposition in South Africa.

"Kevin's commitment and desire to work on his batting and play a significant part in a successful England team is unquestioned."

Pietersen was dropped from England's team for the Twenty20 and one-day series against Pakistan after a disappointing run in the tests, where he scored just one half-century in eight innings.

He hasn't scored a century since March, 2009.

The former England captain was also fined an undisclosed amount by the ECB for making a profane comment on Twitter after learning he had been dropped.

Pietersen was once a controversial character in South Africa after turning his back on his country of birth to pursue a career in England.

He made his first-class debut for Kwazulu-Natal in 1997 before voicing his displeasure with South Africa's then-policy of racial quotas, which sometimes favored black players over whites.

He qualified to play for England in 2004. 

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