LONDON (AFP) Kevin Pietersen insists he will use the forthcoming Ashes showdown with Australia to prove he is still one of the worlds best batsmen. Pietersen has suffered a miserable run of form over the last 12 months and was dropped from Englands one-day international squad which faced Pakistan in September. The flamboyant batsman knows that many experts, including former Australia coach John Buchanan, believe he is no longer the force he once was. But Pietersen, 30, is adamant talk of his demise is premature and he expects to make a significant impact as England try to win a Test series in Australia for the first time since 1986-87. Even with all the doom and gloom over the way Ive been playing I think Ive averaged 40 over the last 18 months or so, so its not all bad, Pietersen told the Daily Mail. I am looking for that Test hundred and I am looking to put myself back to where I was. Id love people to see how hard I train and all the work I do away from the game to put things right. I am trying so hard to get back to where I used to be. Maybe Ive been trying too hard, I dont know. But Im doing everything I can to get back to being the player I have been. South-African born Pietersen played a key role in England winning their first Ashes series in 18 years in 2005 and also took part in last years successful campaign against Australia on home soil. Pietersen, who is part of the 16-man team that will fly to Perth on Friday to prepare for Englands Ashes defence, is confident Andrew Strausss team are capable of winning in Australia - a feat which he would regard as the finest of his international career. It would be the best thing ever to win Down Under and I think we can do it, Pietersen said. It is huge for an England cricketer to go to Australia to take part in an Ashes series. You dont win there often. I have been part of two winning series in the UK and have lost one in Australia. Im really looking forward to this one though because I think we can go and do a lot better than we did last time. "I see this as an unbelievable opportunity to do something that would be the pinnacle of my career." Ive won the Ashes and Ive won a World Cup and to win in Australia as an Englishman would be the icing on the cake and the cherry on top. It would be a case of done and dusted. Pietersen has endured what he describes as an interesting 12 months which has seen him win the ICC World Twenty20 and father his first child while continuing to struggle in all forms of the game. He has failed to hit a Test century since the start of last year but remains completely convinced he can trouble Ricky Pontings team on their own turf. Pietersen has already been taunted by Ponting and company for his lack of form, but he doesnt expect much abuse on the pitch when the Ashes battle gets underway. Its all part of the Ashes build-up. Its more of a media thing than anything else, Pietersen said. Theres sledging off the field but there wont be much on it. It just doesnt happen. Respected figures within the game contend that England can win the series against Australia, who recently lost 2-0 in India. Any suggestions that the hosts will be easily beaten were denied by Pietersen though. Theyre not a spent force, he said. In Australia they will be a tough team to beat. They will be right at us and we will have to play our best cricket to compete with them.