London: Maverick England batsman Kevin Pietersen’s brilliant but controversial international career has come to an abrupt end with his announcement that his “incredible journey” was over as he would no longer play for the country.
Pietersen, who has excellent record against India scoring 1581 runs in Tests at an average of 58.55 and 1138 ODI runs at an average of 45.52, remains England's highest run-scorer in all formats of the game.
He played 104 Tests and 136 ODIs in a career spanning nine years. He scored 8181 Test runs at an average of 47.28 and 4440 ODI runs at 40.73. The right-hander has 1176 runs in the 37 Twenty20 Internationals he has played so far.
“Playing cricket for my country has been an honour. Although I am obviously very sad the incredible journey has come to an end, I’m also hugely proud of what we, as a team, have achieved over the past nine years,” Pietersen said.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have played at a time of great success for England cricket alongside some of the best cricketers the country has ever produced. I want to thank everyone for their fantastic support and I wish the team the very best of success going forward.
“I believe I still have a great deal to give as a cricketer. I will continue to play but deeply regret that it won’t be for England,” he added.
The dramatic announcement is being seen as an ECB move to forcefully end the controversial batsman’s career.
Michael Vaughan, acknowledging he’d been fortunate to deal with Pietersen before the advent of the lucrative Indian Premier League, nevertheless insisted he’d been mismanaged of late. “England lost 0-5 and needed a huge scapegoat,” he said. “You have to be able to manage mavericks. You can’t have clones around.”
Nasser Hussain had mixed feelings at a decision that left current captain Alastair Cook without one of his most talented players. “History tells you with Kevin he hasn’t really got a foot to stand on — whether it be back in Natal or Hampshire or Nottinghamshire, or Peter Moores or Andrew Strauss or Alastair Cook or Andy Flower, wherever he has been he has been a problem.”
Geoffrey Boycott added: “He (Pietersen) was an individual ... I was one (as well). You can be an individual within the team but not an individual full stop — take it or leave it.”
Ian Botham was critical of the ECB’s ways of handling the matter, saying the ECB should come clear instead of carrying on with cliche statements.
“I think everyone needs to remember what a terrific player he (Pietersen) has been and the entertainment he has given. I think it’s about time the ECB put out an official statement so that we all know what is going on.”
Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday, said Pietersen’s surprise retirement has changed the dynamics of the upcoming IPL players’ auction as his availability for the full season now makes the swashbuckling English batsman the most sought after player.
“Kevin Pietersen is such an awesome player that every franchise would like to have him in the team. A lot of teams would be looking for him and we are one of them,” Anant Sarkaria, spokesperson, KXIP said.