Pietersen praised by Stewart

Pietersen has rejoined Surrey to play in LV= County Championship Division Two in a bid to win a Test recall for the Ashes this summer.

The 34-year-old was sacked by the England and Wales Cricket Board after the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash, but Stewart revealed he has never had any problems with his attitude.

"H e's been as good as gold with us. If he was a bad character we wouldn't have had him," he said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Whenever he's been with us he has been outstanding. He's helped the youngsters, he's been in the nets, he's put on batting clinics and he's tried his heart out. So hopefully, and I have no reason to disbelieve, he will be exactly the same this time, if not even more hard working and desperate to score runs."

Stewart accepted, though, that Pietersen's hopes of playing for England again were likely to be dashed.

ECB managing director Paul Downton has been steadfast in his appraisal that Pietersen will not come back - as have national selector James Whitaker and coach Peter Moores, while Test captain Alastair Cook rated the prospect ''highly unlikely''.

"If England are winning, they have a good West Indies tour which we expect, then it's going to take an injury or a huge loss of form for a vacancy to become available," Stewart added.

"But all Kevin can do and, that's what he's said to us, he's going to score runs, sit back and see what happens."

  Kevin Pietersen has rejoined Surrey in a bid to win a Test recall for the Ashes this summer
Kevin Pietersen has rejoined Surrey in a bid to win a Test recall for the Ashes this summer