KP signs full central contract
Kevin Pietersen's reconciliation with the England and Wales Cricket Board has been finalised, with new limited-overs coach Ashley Giles confirming the star batsman has signed a full central contract.
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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 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.
He also played some of the best innings of his career.
Since undergoing a process of "reintegration" - as prescribed by his ECB employers - he has been working on a short-term deal as opposed to the year-long contract handed to 10 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.
"He is fully back on board. It's great news.
"Whatever happened in 2012, we're moving into a new year now. 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.
He appeared suitably contrite in a joint appearance with ECB chairman Giles Clarke in October, quickly earned his way back into the Test side for the pre-Christmas series in India and made a dashing 186 to set up victory in Mumbai and underline his importance to the side.
Flower indicated in December that a permanent return and a full central deal was the likeliest outcome after his successful comeback and that was rubber-stamped in the last 24 hours.
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.
There is nothing untoward in that decision, with England also leaving Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Jonathan Trott at home this month as part of their ongoing policy of workload management.
Unfortunately for Giles, his sides are more likely than Flower's Test XI to be altered by the policy, but he accepts the current international schedules are too much for players who play across the three formats.
"I think it's just a function of the era we are playing in," said Giles.
"We have to look after our cricketers, particularly with the amount of cricket we have coming up.
"In the next 12-18 months it is imperative we look after our best players, both physically and mentally.
"If that means occasionally resting them or rotating them out of the side then that is the way it will be.
"But wherever there is injury, or rest, or rotation there is opportunity and it's up to the young guys to show what they can do."
Kevin Pietersen factfile
1980: Born June 27 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, to an Afrikaans father and an English mother.
1997-98: Makes first-class debut for Natal as an off-spinning all-rounder.
2001: Joins Nottinghamshire with a view to qualifying as an England player, having become frustrated with the quota selection system in South Africa.
2003: Averages more than 50 for the third season running but becomes disenchanted with his county employers and threatens to sue for unfair dismissal, even though relegated Nottinghamshire insist he has not been sacked.
2004: Remains a Nottinghamshire player and helps his team return to the top flight of the County Championship at the first attempt.
October: Quits Nottinghamshire for Hampshire.
2005: January - Joins the England squad for the ODI series against his native South Africa.
February - Registers maiden, unbeaten century with 108 in the second match in Bloemfontein. Scores further centuries in East London and Centurion.
Becomes the fastest man in history to reach 500 one-day international runs.
2005: July 14 - Named in England Test squad ahead of Graham Thorpe.
July 24 - Scores 57 and 64 on debut but Australia crush England by 239 runs.
September 12 - Scores century to rescue England, who claim the Ashes with a draw in the final Test at The Oval.
2006: March - Equals Viv Richards' record of 21 innings to reach 1,000 ODI runs.
2007: January - England's best player in the 2006-07 Ashes in Australia, scoring 490 runs and averaging over 50.
April: Scores 104 against Australia, England's first World Cup century since 1996. Adds 100 from 91 balls against the West Indies.
May: Posts his highest score of 226 in the second Test against the West Indies at Headingley.
2008: June - Uses the innovative 'switch hit' to hit New Zealand's Scott Styris for two sixes. Appointed temporary ODI captain after Paul Collingwood is suspended for four matches.
August 3 - Replaces Michael Vaughan as Test captain and Collingwood as one-day skipper.
August 8 - Scores century in debut innings as Test captain.
2009: January 7 - Resigns as England captain following reports of a rift with coach Peter Moores.
2010: April-May - Makes an unbeaten 73 against Pakistan and 47 in the final victory over Australia as England win the ICC World Twenty20.
June 17 - Announces he will not be renewing his Hampshire contract.
June 22 - Plays his 100th ODI against Australia.
August 31 - Writes on Twitter that he is to be dropped from England's limited-overs matches against Pakistan and has signed for Surrey.
November 2010-January 2011 - On top form in England's Ashes series win in Australia, with the highlight a career-best 227 in Adelaide.
2011: March 7 - Injury forces him out of England's World Cup campaign.
2012: May 31 - Retires from one-day and Twenty20 internationals.
July 9 - Admits he still harbours hope of playing limited-overs cricket for England again.
July 14 - Reveals he would "love to play for another three or four years in all forms of cricket".
August 6 - After scoring 149 in the first innings of the second Test against South Africa, casts doubt on his Test future, claiming "obstacles" must be overcome in order for him to continue beyond the third Test at Lord's.
August 11 - Pietersen says he "wants to commit to all forms of cricket for England" in a video posted on YouTube.
August 12 - Left out for the third Test against South Africa.
August 15 - The ECB confirm they have received an apology from Pietersen and an admission he sent "provocative"' text messages to members of the South African team. Pietersen says: "I truly didn't mean to cause upset or tension, particularly with important games at stake."
August 21 - Left out of England squads for the limited-overs series against South Africa and September's World Twenty20.
September 7 - Not among a 10-man list of players the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed had been given a central contract for the 2012-13 season.
September 18: Left out of the Test squad to tour India after much speculation about his potential selection.
October 3: The ECB confirm the process has begun for Pietersen to be re-integrated into the England team, starting with the signing of a new central contract. He apologises to Andrew Strauss for "recent controversies" and admits sending "provocative"' BBM messages to members of the South African touring party.
October 18: Added to England's Test squad for tour of India.
November 24-25: Makes 186 in the second Test against India.
December: Finishes series, which England win 2-1, with 338 runs at an average of 48.28.
2013: January 9: Signs a full central contract with the ECB to finalise his return to the national set-up.