I will go and get runs - Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen claims his stint in South Africa has restored his confidence - and insists he has no concerns about scoring heavily in Australia.
Pietersen spent much of the last month working with former coach Graham Ford at South African franchise the Dolphins in an attempt to regain his form following a poor run that saw him dropped from England’s limited-overs squad.
Although he managed only 38 runs in two innings in the two first-class matches he played, Pietersen expects to prosper with the bat Down Under.
“I am going to go out there and get some runs,” he said ahead of the squad’s departure tomorrow.
“I’d love to post a big score in the first Test. I’ve done it before so why not again? I love playing Australia.
“Graham Ford was brilliant for my confidence. He knows how to get the best out of me. I did some amazing work with him and absolutely loved it.
“I rekindled some shots out of my old style of play. I’m really looking forward to the series and I’ll be full of confidence that I’ll do well.”
Pietersen averaged 54 the last time England toured Australia in 2006-07, but his tally of 490 runs could not prevent them suffering a humbling 5-0 defeat.
Hopes of a successful tour are significantly higher this winter, not only from pundits and fans but, crucially, the England players.
“Last time it was horrendous,” Pietersen reflected. “But we have more of a team now. I think we can win the series. We are better prepared, physically and mentally.
“It would be the best thing ever to win Down Under and I think we can do it,” said Pietersen, who has tasted Ashes success twice on home soil.
“It is huge for an England cricketer to go to Australia to take part in an Ashes series.
“You don’t win there often. I have been part of two winning series in the UK and have lost one in Australia.
“I’m really looking forward to this one, though, because I think we can go and do a lot better than we did last time.”
Although Australia have lost their last three Tests, which included a 2-0 series defeat in India, Pietersen knows the scale of the challenge facing England.
“They’re not a spent force,” he said. “In Australia they will be a tough team to beat.
"They will be right at us and we will have to play our best cricket to compete with them.”