Kevin Pietersen Back in England Test Squad

23/10/2012 12:44 BST | Updated 18/12/2012 10:12 GMT

After two months, one rather important Test match and a failed defence of the World T20 trophy, Kevin Pietersen is back in the England squad.

That it took so long, that it dominated - and will continue to dominate - so many headlines and column inches is a testament to two things: firstly, how badly this situation was handled by all involved, and secondly, how much Pietersen and England need each other.

'KP' was, of course, in the wrong. To send text messages criticising your captain - to players you are currently facing in a Test series, no less - is unacceptable. However, from that point on all parties should have sat in a room and dealt with it privately.

Dropping Pietersen for the final Test was perhaps understandable, it came fairly quickly on the back of these events taking place. However, there was more than enough time for it to have been dealt with afterward, and the South African-born batsman certainly could've been on the plane to Sri Lanka.

As it was, the 'saga' dragged on, no one involved looked to have gained any particular credit, and the biggest loss was ultimately to the performance of the national side.

Pietersen is England's best batsman, in all forms of the game. In fact, he's one of the most talented batsman England have ever had, certainly in recent years at least.

An England side without him is an England side weakened, as evidenced in the performances against South Africa in the third Test, and more noticeably in the World T20.

However, Pietersen also needs England. Had his exile continued, he would doubtless have made himself a fortune. The Big Bash, IPL and others would have been queuing up to throw huge sums of money at him. He could have travelled the world playing Twenty20 cricket, making far more than he would playing Test cricket for England.

The reason PIetersen doesn't want to do that, though, is simple, and probably a contributing factor to his alienation in the dressing room: his ego. He wants to be the best, he wants to leave a lasting legacy, and to do that he needs to play Test cricket.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that will likely be the case. His teammates may not like him, and they don't have to as long as there's a mutual respect and understanding.

His absence, though, has meant an absence of winning, and that is something England players, coaches and fans had become not only fond of, but accustomed to. His return should signify an upturn in fortunes.

It won't be easy, of course, as it all begins with a trip to India, one of the hardest tours in Test cricket.

Pietersen aside, there are many other questions to be answered. Who opens the batting? Nick Compton and Joe Root are in the squad, but both are uncapped. Jonathan Trott could open, but then you simply replace the first question with who bats at three, or five (Pietersen will undoubtedly be at number 4, whatever happens). One spinner or two? How will Cook handle the pressure of captaincy?

These questions are all rather important, and now the Pietersen saga is over, Andy Flower, Alistair Cook et al can focus on how to answer them.