Kevin Pietersen has taken the first step toward rehabilitation as an England player, but will need rapid progress if he is to complete the process in time for the Test tour to India.

After belatedly signing a central contract on Wednesday, confirmed at a press conference, Pietersen spelled out his commitment to "reintegration". There is precious little time, however, for that to be concluded before England, with a squad picked last month, and not containing Pietersen, set off for India, via a training camp in Dubai, on October 25.

In order to be added to the touring party, Pietersen must satisfy team director Andy Flower of his good faith and readiness to rejoin dressing-room colleagues he alienated during his summer of contract wrangles with the ECB.

The South Africa-born batsman has consented to a number of board stipulations already, in order to agree an initial four-month contract, with an extension readily available if he and Flower can locate the necessary common ground.

Pietersen apologised for the "horrible situation" of the past two months, during which he had to confess to sending "provocative" text messages to opposition South Africa players at Headingley; was then dropped for the final Test at Lord's; not offered a central contract and kept on the outside as England failed to defend their ICC World Twenty20 title.

It is little wonder then that, as he made clear on Wednesday, he wants to look forward rather than back.

"For various reasons, I don't want to go into other issues," he said. "It's just a case for us to look forward, move forward and not delve into what's gone on. It's a private matter that will go forward now."

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke Clarke is in agreement, and spoke with characteristic certainty about the mutual intent to achieve a return to the fold for the 32-year-old.

"Kevin has been extremely sensible and most constructive over the last period of time in getting this started," he said. "He and I have had an excellent two-and-a-half hours together today and it's been thoroughly constructive.

"There's lots to be done, lots to be worked out, but in the end we want this process to work."