Return of Pietersen enhances England’s value to win the Ashes

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Kevin Pietersen is set to return to the international cricket after his troublesome knee injury this week as England take on New Zealand in two T20 matches ahead of this summer’s showpiece.

The return of the South African-born batsman will not only be a massive boost in the shortest form of the game but also in the Test arena.

The 32-year-old is one of England’s few flair players and his presence at the crease is sure to intimidate a lacklustre Australian outfit.

Pietersen thrives against the old enemy and has registered no fewer than three 150-plus scores against the Aussies as well as a further eight half centuries.

It was the 2005 Ashes that saw him explode on to the scene as he bludgeoned his way to 473 runs in the series against a bowling attack containing the likes of Glen McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Warne.

The current crop contains no names of that magnitude and if fit KP will be rubbing his hands together at the thought of disposing the likes Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Micthell Starc and Nathan Lyon to boundaries around the country.

Only Ryan Harris and Siddle have any real experience of the English conditions, and with neither commanding a great deal of ability with regards to utilising swing, there is little for the English batsmen to fear, something reflected in their 7/2 price to reclaim the Urn.

The hosts are short-priced favourites at 2/5 and should Pietersen fire in the upcoming series with the Black Caps that price will look far too long.

Nick Compton, who has struggled for form during the English summer, is high on the list of those who could miss out on the Ashes should Pietersen prove his fitness for the five-match series.

He may have two centuries to his name in his county’s colours but the 29-year-old has just one 50 to add to that in 17 international innings and the presence of such a household name could see him ousted.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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