Kevin Pietersen and Michael Clarke
Pietersen could return in time for the Ashes says Clarke.Getty Images

Australia captain Michael Clarke is delighted England will be without Kevin Pietersen for the start of this year's Ashes series although he does expect the nation's leading run scorer to play at some point in the summer series.

Pietersen is currently campaigning for a recall in time for the five-match series after signing for Surrey for the start of the domestic season but faces a tough task convincing the England and Wales Cricket Board he is worthy of a second chance.

And while Clarke is happy with the prospect of Pietersen missing the Ashes this summer he admits he expects to see the 34-year-old – and new Melbourne Stars teammate – muscle his way into the reckoning.

"I do think he could be at the Ashes," said Clarke at his unveiling as the newest signing of the Big Bash franchise. "He's in form, he's showed that, he's certainly scoring enough runs.

"He's made it very clear he wants to play and now it will come down to the England selectors making their decision.

"From the Australian perspective I am happy he is not playing because he's a wonderful player."

Pietersen spent much of 2014 playing T20 tournaments around the world but enjoyed the most success Down Under with Melbourne where he finished the Big Bash as the highest run scorer.

"It's going to be nice to be on the same side as him," the Australian skipper added. "I've always got on really well with KP.

"He's been great for the Melbourne Stars to have luxury as captain, to have that sort of player in your team is extremely exciting and he'll play a big part in us having success in the BBL."