Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen's injury fears have been eased in recent weeks.

England batsman Kevin Pietersen will bid to prove his fitness ahead of the Ashes against Australia in the first of two four-day games starting for Surrey against Yorkshire on 21 June.

Pietersen hasn't played any form of cricket since the second test draw against New Zealand in Wellington in March after suffering a bruised knee which saw him subsequently fly home from the remainder of the tour.

The 32 year old escaped requiring surgery but was absent from the two-match test series against the Black Caps on home soil before his omission from England's Champions Trophy squad, raising fears over his participation in this summer's Ashes series.

While Pietersen has been able to practise with his county and more recently with England at Dulwich College, he was at risk of going into the Ashes without having played competitive cricket for four months prior to the start of the first test at Trent Bridge on 10 July.

But Pietersen could play as many as two four-day matches against Yorkshire starting next Friday, and then against Essex for England in Chelmsford starting on 30 June. Surrey also begin their Twenty20 campaign in between against Pietersen's former club Hampshire.

"Just had another brilliant net session followed by a fitness/fielding session," Pietersen wrote on Twitter. "Feeling great! Game next week!"

Despite England's 2-1 series victory during the last meeting with Australia at home in 2009 - in the absence of Pietersen due to an Achilles injury - the South African-born batsman still remains a crucial cog in the hosts' hopes of retaining the Ashes four years on.

The struggles of Nick Compton at the top of the order have been offset by the form of Joe Root, who scored his maiden test century at Headingley in the second test win over New Zealand, leading to suggestions the 22 year old could be moved up the order, with Jonny Bairstow retained in spite of his inconsistent international form.