Cricket: Clarke wary Pietersen may return to haunt Australia in Ashes series

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Captain Michael Clarke may have hoped to have seen the back of Kevin Pietersen in Test cricket, but concedes the controversial batsman could yet return to threaten Australia's hopes of retaining the Ashes.

Sacked in the wake of England's 5-0 whitewash in Australia in 2013-14, 34-year-old Pietersen may be set for an unlikely recall if he racks up the runs for Surrey in English county cricket.

He scored 170 on his return for the side on Sunday, albeit in a non-first class match against Oxford MCCU.

"I do think he could be at the Ashes," Clarke told reporters in Melbourne on Friday after announcing a two-year deal to play Twenty20 cricket in Australia's domestic Big Bash competition. "His form, he's showed that, he's certainly scoring enough runs.

"He's made it very clear he wants to play and now it will come down to the England selectors."

England's selectors have repeatedly dismissed the idea of Pietersen ever re-joining the team, but the South Africa-born right-hander told the BBC he had been offered a "lifeline".