London - England batsman Kevin Pietersen has confirmed he will return to cricket with Surrey in their County Championship fixture away to Yorkshire next week.
The 32-year-old South Africa-born shotmaker has not played since March because of a knee injury and now faces a race against time to prove his fitness for the first Ashes Test against Australia at Nottingham's Trent Bridge ground on July 10.
Surrey's match against Yorkshire, which starts on Friday, has long been pencilled in as the fixture where Pietersen would return to action.
It ought to be the first of two matches in which Pietersen can play before the first Test and he said Sunday he would be making his come back against Yorkshire.
Asked by a Twitter follower if he would be playing at Headingley, Yorkshire's headquarters ground in Leeds, northern England, Pietersen replied: "YES I AM!"
Surrey are not due to announce their team until Thursday.
After the Yorkshire match, Pietersen -- if fit -- will aim to feature for England in their warm-up clash with Essex before the five-Test Ashes series gets underway.
Regarded as the most talented batsman in the England set-up, former captain Pietersen has scored 7,499 runs, including 22 hundreds, in 94 Tests at an impressive average of 49.01.
However, he was briefly dropped from the side during last year's series at home to South Africa after allegedly sending text messages critical of then England captain Andrew Strauss, who has since retired, to players from the opposition.