Kevin Pietersen returned to the England team for the upcoming tour of India on Thursday, following his exile for sending provocative texts to opposition players and admitted he was overjoyed to be back.
The decision came after the star batsman met with England coach Andy Flower, Test captain Alastair Cook and other senior players and managers this week to finalise his reintegration into the side.
The Surrey batsman was cast into international exile in August after sending text messages to touring South Africa players that contained criticism of then-England captain Andrew Strauss during the Test series.Dropped
The 32-year-old was dropped for the final Test and missed the One-Day series against South Africa and England's failed defence of their World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka, while Strauss retired from all forms of cricket.
South Africa-born Pietersen has since apologised for his behaviour and signed a new central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after agreeing to enter a “re-integration” process.
“BOOOOOOOOM!! The happiest days of my career have been playing cricket for ENG. Long may that continue! Thanks everyone for your kind words,” Pietersen tweeted on Thursday.
It was claimed that Flower and several of England’s senior players were initially against Pietersen returning, but that hardline stance has softened in recent weeks as the realisation grew that his absence was seriously damaging hopes of success.
“We are pleased to welcome a player of Kevin's proven international calibre back into the Test squad,” added ECB national selector Geoff Miller.
“Kevin will join the squad as soon as his Champions League commitments are complete.”