Clarke backs KP for Ashes spot

The 34-year-old has not played for his country since the fifth Test in Sydney, a match England lost to complete a 5-0 series defeat Down Under.

Pietersen was described as "disengaged" from his team-mates during that final Test by England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton.

Downton has since left his role and Pietersen has signed for Surrey with the intent of scoring the runs which would earn him a recall.

He scored 170 against Oxford MCCU recently and Clarke feels Pietersen could represent his country again.

"I do think he could be at the Ashes," said Clarke. "He has certainly scored enough runs.

"He has made it very clear he wants to play and now it will come down to the England selectors and England board making a decision.

"But at the moment from the Australians' perspective, I'm happy if he is not playing because he is a wonderful player."

Clarke will link up with Pietersen in the Big Bash League after confirming he will be the captain of the Melbourne Stars next year.

"It's going to be nice to be on the same side," he said.

"To have that luxury as captain - to have a player like that in your team - is extremely exciting and I know he'll play a big part in us having success."

  Michael Clarke believes Kevin Pietersen, pictured, could play in this summer's Ashes series
Michael Clarke believes Kevin Pietersen, pictured, could play in this summer's Ashes series