The England team fly out to Australia on October 29th and the Ashes warm-up games will provide Kevin Pietersen with his only chance to find some form ahead of the first Test on November 25th.
Pietersen’s highly scrutinised spell in South Africa ended on Sunday after he featured in just two innings for the KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins.
The Dolphins won their four-dayer with the Titans by nine wickets, leaving Pietersen without an opportunity to rectify his first innings, second ball duck.
In the Dolphins draw with the Warriors last week, Pietersen also only featured in one innings, a high scoring one where Pietersen could only contribute 36 as the Dolphins declared on 500.
England will be looking to the South African born batsman to continue his average of 50.72 against the Australians, but his poor form will be a huge worry to England’s new batting coach Graham Thorpe.
Pietersen is England’s best batsman when it comes to playing Australia, his average is 12 runs better than Andrew Strauss, and is only bettered by Jonathan Trott’s average of 80, but Trott has only played two innings against the Aussies.
At 4/1, Pietersen is joint second favourite with Trott to be England’s top series runscorer, but he only has the warm-up games against Southern and Western Australia, and the Australia A team, to get into nick.
The lack of preparation for James Anderson, and Pietersen’s loss of form, seems to have swung the balance in favour of Australia ahead of the first Test, despite losing the Test series with India.
The first Test is always hugely important and Australia are 10/11 to win in Brisbane, with England available at 2/1.
One thing for sure is that if the warm-up sides win the toss, Pietersen can expect to field first in England’s next three matches.
England have been cut from 9/4 to 2/1 to win the Ashes series. See the full The Ashes betting odds market here.