KP's frustrations can fire Surrey
12:50pm Monday 24th March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Kevin Pietersen will have a point to prove with Surrey this summer after being unceremoniously dumped by England, his long-time mentor and the county's new head coach believes.
The 33-year-old is England's record run scorer but was dumped after the Ashes whitewash in Australia, bringing his vaunted international career to a close.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has not disclosed the full reasons for the parting of ways, with rumours of dressing-room fallouts and distrust, but Surrey expect only to benefit from Pietersen's input.
Graham Ford, recruited by director of cricket Alec Stewart over the winter, has known Pietersen since he was a schoolboy in South Africa and expects a response.
"He's a good enough player to prove a point in any format," Ford said.
"He'll certainly entertain and it will be great for the fans to come down and have a look at him and see just how good he is.
"Unfortunately he's got to move on from international cricket.
"The news was surprising. I don't really know what went on, but I have known Kevin for a long time and I've always found him to be a very positive individual and I'm sure he's going to be extremely positive in our dressing room."
Surrey and England fast bowler Chris Tremlett used the word "destructive" to describe Pietersen, but only when referring to his team-mate's batting ability.
"To have such a destructive player leave the England side is just a shame, in my opinion," Tremlett said.
It is a decision Tremlett, who played in only the opening Test in Brisbane, struggles to comprehend.
Asked if he understood, Tremlett, who has had an intermittent England career due to injuries and form, added: "Not really. I don't know the ins and outs of what's happened.
"I'm sure Kevin was just trying to be honest in his opinions.
"There have been things that have happened over the years and the ECB have come to the decision they want to move on and try new players.
"It's a great shame for the world of cricket. Kevin is one of the best players, not just in England, but around the world."
Pietersen will return to Surrey once he has fulfilled his commitments in the Indian Premier League.
The Oval, scene of his memorable century in the 2005 Ashes win early in his career, will once again be home.
Graeme Smith returns to Surrey as captain after his season was curtailed last season due to an ankle injury.
Smith's recent retirement from South Africa duty means his full focus will be on Surrey and he will be influential on and off the field.
Ford and Stewart believe Pietersen will be, too, particularly helping Surrey's emerging talent as the county bid to return to Division One of the County Championship after last season's relegation.
Ford added: "When they do get an opportunity to bat with him it will be a masterclass and a great chance to learn."
Former England captain Stewart said: "Whenever he's been here with Surrey he's been outstanding.
"He's performed well. The way he's conducted himself within the dressing room and the training ground has been a credit to him and he has set high examples for the rest of our team to follow.
"Kevin has big personal pride. He'll want to do well as an individual and help, ideally, Surrey do well."