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Kevin Pietersen 'full of confidence' ahead of the Ashes

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen has scored 16 centuries in 66 Test matches for England

Kevin Pietersen insists he is "full of confidence" ahead of the Ashes and believes England have the team ethic to achieve success in Australia.

The 30-year-old said the 2006-07 tour of Australia was "horrendous" because England were a group of "individuals".

But he added: "We have more of a team now - we are better prepared physically and mentally."

Pietersen has been playing for South African side Kwazulu Natal Dolphins in a bid to regain form.

During his stint in South Africa, Pietersen scored 38 and a second-ball duck in his two first-class innings.

The former England skipper has not made a Test century since March 2009 and was dropped from the national one-day side at the end of last season.

Former Australia coach John Buchanan, who won three out of four Ashes series during his six-year reign, has described Pietersen as a potential weak link in the England team.

But Pietersen, who will fly out with the rest of the England squad to Australia on Friday, has dismissed the comments and said his experience in South Africa, working with former mentor Graham Ford, has reinvigorated him.

"Graham Ford was brilliant for my confidence. He knows how to get the best out of me," said Pietersen, who averages more than 54 in Tests in Australia.

"I did some amazing work with him and absolutely loved it. I re-kindled 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.

"I am going to go out there and get some runs.

"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."

Pietersen is one of seven survivors from England's last tour down under, when Australia dished out a 5-0 thrashing to regain the urn they lost in 2005.

"There were a few of us involved in that, so we've handed over some sort of knowledge as to how we want to try and do better and be better prepared for what is thrown at us this winter and I'm sure we will do," added the former Nottinghamshire and Hampshire man.

Following Australia's 2-0 series defeat in India, England begin an Ashes series above their antipodean rivals in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings for the first time.

During his side's time on the sub-continent, Australia captain Ricky Ponting came in for criticism from legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne, while former Aussie pacemen Geoff Lawson and Jeff Thomson have called for the Tasmanian to step aside.

But Pietersen commented: "Ponting is a great player and one of the greats of the game, when he feels it's his time, then he calls it time."

England play three first-class warm-up matches before the Ashes series, which gets underway in Brisbane on 25 November.



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see also
Strauss backs Pietersen to fire
18 Oct 10 |  England
Buchanan voices Pietersen doubts
14 Oct 10 |  England
Pietersen scores 36 for Dolphins
07 Oct 10 |  England
Pietersen aims to recapture form
04 Oct 10 |  Cricket
Panesar & Tremlett in Ashes squad
23 Sep 10 |  England
Pietersen boosted by Surrey stint
16 Sep 10 |  Surrey
Pietersen to play in South Africa
09 Sep 10 |  England
England drop Pietersen from squad
31 Aug 10 |  England


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