London - England batsman Kevin Pietersen is poised for a return to international cricket in the second Twenty20 match against New Zealand after a long lay-off with injury, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Thursday.
The ECB named a 14-man squad for the two-match series at The Oval in London on June 25 and 27, with Middlesex's Eoin Morgan captaining the side.
"Kevin Pietersen, who has been unavailable for England since March due to a knee injury, will join the squad for the second match provided he successfully completes an LV County Championships game for Surrey beginning on Friday 21 June," they said in a statement.
Pietersen is regarded as the most talented batsman in the England set-up and has scored 7 499 runs, including 22 hundreds, in 94 Tests at an impressive average of 49.01.
In T20 internationals, he has scored 1,176 runs at an average of 37.93.
The 32-year-old 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.
England's squad includes two players yet to play for their country in any format: Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance and Warwickshire quick Boyd Rankin.
National selector Geoff Miller said they had a blend of youth and experience and the squad had been picked with the heavy cricket schedule in mind.
The games against the Black Caps would provide an opportunity for players who had performed well in the domestic game, with the country's performance programme and Lions teams to gain international experience.
"New Zealand are a talented limited overs side and with a World T20 competition less than a year away this series gives us a chance to look at a number of different options," he added.
England squad to face New Zealand in two T20 matches:
Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, captain)
Gary Ballance (Yorkshire)
Ravi Bopara (Essex)
Danny Briggs (Hampshire)
Jos Buttler (Somerset)
Jade Dernbach (Surrey)
Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire)
Michael Lumb (Nottinghamshire)
Kevin Pietersen (Surrey) -- June 27 fixture only
Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire)
Ben Stokes (Durham)
James Tredwell (Kent)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Luke Wright (Sussex)