So, Kevin Pietersen finally makes his return to the England fold ahead of the Ashes and, publicly at least, the rest of the squad are ready to welcome the talented batsman back with open arms. But is the reality somewhat different?
Of course, unless we can somehow install a secret camera in the England dressing room, we will never know for sure just how warm a welcome or otherwise Pietersen will get from the rest of his teammates.
However, you can be sure he is not on some players’ Christmas card lists, after his public fall-outs with at least a couple of high-profile stars in the not too distant past.
However, does that really matter? If we look at Eoin Morgan’s recent comments about his comeback, Pietersen’s return is being treated as good news for the team ahead of the big summer games against the Aussies, in which England are considered real value for the win.
“Kevin is a huge part of English cricket and has been for a long time,” the stand-in Twenty20 skipper said. “What he brings to the table probably very few people in the world can.
“He can take the game away from you at any stage and we saw during the week the way he performed he takes a lot of pride in when he goes out there and bats. He looks in good form.”
So far, so very diplomatic. Pietersen, when at his devastating best, is without doubt one of the best players in the world and can offer something different to the likes of Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Jonathan Trott.
But he can also be a divisive character, prone to taking unnecessary risks and getting himself out cheaply while being accused by some of caring more for his own reputation than the good of the team.
England’s build up to the Ashes has so far been fairly unproblematic with a decent showing in the ICC Champions Trophy and plenty of players proving their worth ahead of the big summer series. Team spirit seems good and everyone appears to be pulling in the right direction. The worry is, will Pietersen’s return affect that at just the wrong time?