The ECB has reportedly confirmed that England batsman Kevin Pietersen has requested permission to join South African provincial team KwaZulu-Natal Inland for two matches in October as preparation ahead of the Ashes. Pietersen is highly keen to play as much cricket as possible ahead of the big Ashes series down under.
Pietersen who has had an ordinary run of form this year was ignored by the English selectors from the English T20 and ODI squad against Pakistan. The 30-year-old batsman is currently on loan with Surrey, and is seeking clearance from Cricket South Africa to join Natal for two four-day matches against North West (October 7-10) and Eastern Province (October 14-17).
Pietersen said:"I'm extremely keen to get as much cricket as possible under my belt before a challenging and exciting winter.
"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."
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 and this proposed arrangement with Natal, initiated by Kevin himself, further underlines that."