(CNN) -- England remain hopeful star batsman Kevin Pietersen will be fit to feature on their winter cricket tour of South Africa.
England are hopeful star batsman Kevin Pietersen will be fit for the winter tour of South Africa.
South African-born Pietersen, 29, has been sidelined since July following Achilles surgery but is expected to be among the names when national selector Geoff Miller announces England's Test and one-day parties for the 11-week trip at Lord's on Thursday.
Although he is not certain to be fit for the two Twenty20 internationals on November 13 and 15, the England hierarchy remain optimistic of his return during the five-match one-day series, which begins on November 20 in Johannesburg and concludes a fortnight later in Durban.
Pietersen has not played since hobbling out of the Ashes victory at Lord's and straight into an operating theatre. His recovery then received a setback when the scar caused by the operation became infected.
Ahead of the announcement for the tour, England captain Andrew Strauss told BBC Radio 4: "Kevin is getting better quite quickly now so we are very hopeful he will make the trip.
"Hopefully he will play in some one-dayers and then a full part in the rest of the series.
"The sooner he is back the better. It's going to be as hard a series as we could possibly have at this stage of our development."
England coach Andy Flower added: "We can't say yet but I am still thinking positively along the lines of him starting the South African tour."
Meanwhile, fellow-batsman Jonathan Trott, another South African-born player and, like Pietersen, scorer of an Ashes-sealing hundred, is also likely to be named in both one-day and Test squads.
Meanwhile, former England Test bowler Simon Jones, who has been plagued by injuries since playing a leading role in the 2005 Ashes triumph, has signed a three-year contract with county side Hampshire.