Kevin Pietersen returns to England squad

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England have been handed a significant boost ahead of the Ashes after Kevin Pietersen was declared fit enough to be named in the squad to face New Zealand in two T20 internationals.

Pietersen has been out of action since March, when his tour of New Zealand was curtailed due to a serious knee injury, which also forced him to miss the return series and the Champions Trophy.

The 32-year-old has undergone an intense rehabilitation programme to ensure he would recover in time for the visit of Australia, and Pietersen is set to make his competitive return to action for Surrey against Yorkshire on Friday.

Pietersen's commitments with Surrey mean he is only in contention to play England's second T20 against New Zealand, with the two encounters scheduled to take place on June 25 and June 27, both at The Oval.

England's T20 captain Stuart Broad, meanwhile, has been omitted from the 14 player squad in order to keep the opening bowler fresh before the Ashes series, with the first Test set to begin at Trent Bridge on July 10.

Eoin Morgan will captain the side in the absence of Broad, while uncapped duo Gary Ballance and Boyd Rankin - of Yorkshire and Warwickshire respectively - are also included.

The England selectors have also kept faith with Jos Buttler as wicketkeeper after the Somerset man's impressive performances during the Champions Trophy, with England having reached the final of the competition.

England T20 squad to face New Zealand

Eoin Morgan (captain) (Middlesex)

Gary Ballance (Yorkshire)

Ravi Bopara (Essex)

Danny Briggs (Hampshire)

Jos Buttler (Somerset)

Jade Dernbach (Surrey)

Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire)

Michael Lumb (Nottinghamshire)

Kevin Pietersen (Surrey)

Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire)

Ben Stokes (Durham)

James Tredwell (Kent)

Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

Luke Wright (Sussex)

Kevin Pietersen
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