Surrey have confirmed the signing of batsman Kevin Pietersen for the upcoming season.
The South African-born batsman is hoping to make a return to the England team by making himself available for county cricket.
I’m absolutely thrilled to be back at Surrey. It’s a club very close to my heart and Alec Stewart, Graham Ford and everyone at the club has been exceptionally supportive.
There is a fantastic group of lads here and hopefully we can deliver what the great Surrey fans want to see – lots of runs and comprehensive victories.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have agreed to release Kevin Pietersen for the first phase of the Indian Premier League 2015, they have announced in a joint statement with the batsman.
Pietersen will "join a domestic county with the aim of earning a place in the England squad for the upcoming Ashes series" instead, according to the statement.
I'm hugely grateful for all the support and understanding I've received from everyone at the Sunrisers and the IPL.
My focus is now very much on the upcoming season in England and I'm absolutely determined to score as many runs as possible.
To once again put on that England shirt would be a privilege and an honour, but now I have to focus on performing domestically and give myself the best possible chance of meriting selection.
Kevin Pietersen's plans to return to county cricket with Surrey moved a significant step closer after he endorsed reports that he is about to agree a release from his Indian Premier League contract.
Pietersen, axed by England in February 2014 after their Ashes whitewash in Australia but hoping for a still unlikely international recall, retweeted an update in the Daily Telegraph announcing the Sunrisers Hyderabad are preparing imminently to release him from his IPL commitments with them over the next two months.
That will be a key development as the record-breaking 34-year-old batsman seeks a new deal with Surrey - who de-registered him at the end of last season.
Kevin Pietersen's return to county cricket appears to be imminent after Kumar Sangakkara revealed he is expecting to play alongside him at Surrey this summer.
While Sri Lanka's defeat in the World Cup quarter-final marked Sangakkara's last one-day international, Pietersen has frequently talked up his hopes of an England recall and indicated he will play county cricket to help his case.
No deal has yet been confirmed, with Pietersen saying on Test Match Special's quarter-final coverage that he will "explore the options" and "tinker with a few things" - suggesting he could pull out of his Indian Premier League commitments.
But Sangakkara appeared to let the cat out of the bag when he told Sky Sports World Cup: "I'm looking forward to playing at Surrey and working with (coach) Graham Ford, and KP's coming back I hear so that'll be very exciting in the dressing room."
Kevin Pietersen would "love" to return to county cricket and the England set-up - and has hinted he could change his Indian Premier League commitments to make it happen.
Pietersen has not played for England since the Ashes tour of 2013/14, after which he was sacked and labelled "disengaged" by England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton.
I've got to explore the options, I would have loved to have had it done sooner. I don't know how it's going to happen; I just have to wait and see.
I'm in no rush because I really want to make the runs. I would love to get county runs. If I can do anything that can help me get back into it for England then it's something I want to do. I love playing for England.
The controversial batsman is 'looking at' playing county cricket this year in a bid to win an England recallRead the full story ›
England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton has denied that he has been contacted by Kevin Pietersen to discuss a potential return to the national team.
Pietersen has become optimistic his England career could yet be revived and reports on Tuesday claimed that the 34-year-old had held conversations with intermediaries acting for the ECB.
"He hasn't asked me for a meeting," said Downton. "As far as the ECB is concerned no position has changed. We put out a statement last week."
Downton was one of the key figures in casting Pietersen out of the England set-up following last year's 5-0 Ashes whitewash and when asked if he would consider a meeting with the South Africa-born batman, he added: "I don't know what to say to that to be honest.
"It's not something that is at the forefront of the selectors' minds now. We've got a group of players that we are working with and looking to progress the England team.
"Nothing has changed from where we were in the last year."
England's World Cup embarrassment has given ammunition to those who believe it was a mistake to axe Pietersen.
Kevin Pietersen has backed incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves to make the changes needed to revitalise the national teamRead the full story ›
Batsman Kevin Pietersen was among the first to air their opinion on England's humiliating departure from the Cricket World Cup.Read the full story ›
Matthew Hoggard thinks his former team-mate Kevin Pietersen has no chance of playing for England again and believes incoming chairman Colin Graves was "careless" to suggest otherwise.
Hoggard, an Ashes winner alongside Pietersen in the latter's debut series in 2005, sees no way back for the outspoken batsman despite Graves' indication that he would be considered for action again should he re-commit to county cricket and make a success of it.
Pietersen reacted positively to that, but Hoggard rates the entire scenario as fanciful and questions the logic of raising the issue in public.
I don't think he has even half a chance of coming back. I think KP is too far removed from this side, with too much water under the bridge for him to come back.
So it's a fairly careless statement from the new chairman. It makes stories at a time where England don't need any more bad press. It's an extraordinary statement at an extraordinary time.