England coach Andy Flower has dismissed suggestions that Kevin Pietersen is an outcast in the England camp.
Sky Sports pundit Shane Warne claims Pietersen's relationship with the national team has deteriorated since losing the captaincy early last year.
But speaking ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, Flower said: "He's anything but an outcast.
"He's a good guy to have in the dressing room, a great player to have on your side - a very dangerous player that the opposition worry about.
"We expect great things from him and also that he takes part in team dynamics like everyone else does - and that is what he does."
"Kevin does like the big stage, and that's one of the great things about him.
"He enjoys the pressure situations; he enjoys the chance to bat brilliantly while everyone's watching. It's part of what makes up a very fine competitor."
The news comes as Pietersen confirmed he has signed a contract with Surrey for next season.
Pietersen, speaking after sending his new contract back from Australia, told Surrey's official website: "I'm delighted to be playing for Surrey next season, as I really enjoyed my time with them at the end of this year.
"I hope I can get some games in over the summer and spend time at this great club, meeting more of the staff and supporters.
"I look forward to catching up with the guys when I get back from the Ashes."
Pietersen, whose Surrey deal will run concurrently with his England central contract, has fond memories of the Oval, notably scoring an Ashes-winning century there in 2005.
Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon revealed he had already been in contact with the England management in an effort to maximise the number of appearances Pietersen will be able to make for the county.
"Kevin Pietersen is a star, in cricketing terms he's a giant of a man and I think it's going to help us hugely both on and off the field," he added on Surrey TV.
"I think we'll probably get him for a championship match at the end of the World Cup and before the Test matches start in May and also I've talked to the England management about releasing Kevin for a couple of home Twenty20 matches.
"So I think we will see him. He'll be a tremendous draw when he does play and it'll also be great help to us commercially off the field."
Sheldon added: "We've been in contact this last week as we've moved towards signing the contract.
"He's bubbling with enthusiasm, he's obviously very excited about the Ashes as well.
"But I know that coming to Surrey County Cricket Club is very important to him and it's very important to us too."
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