Kevin Pietersen: Batsman says he is 'so sad' at England exit, but 'incredibly overwhelmed' by support - Cricket - Sport - The Independent

Kevin Pietersen: Batsman says he is 'so sad' at England exit, but 'incredibly overwhelmed' by support

The batsman has been told his England future is over

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen admits he finds it “so sad” that his international career is over.

England's management decided unanimously on Tuesday that their relationship with the 33-year-old had run its course.

With squads to be named on Thursday for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies and the World Twenty20, the England and Wales Cricket Board was forced to confront the thorny issue of Pietersen's future earlier than it might have liked and the verdict - announced by new managing director Paul Downton - was a decisive one.

Pietersen was told he would not be picked for the next two trips and no leeway was left for a change of heart.

Former coach Andy Flower, whose relationship with Pietersen reportedly reached breaking point during the 5-0 Ashes whitewash this winter, was among those who had his say on the subject along with one-day coach Ashley Giles, captain Alastair Cook and national selector James Whitaker.

Pietersen has vowed to stay in the game, and with no international responsibilities he appears to become a more attractive signing for Indian Premier League sides.

He wrote on Instagram, after posting a picture of his final Test in Sydney: "So sad that this will now be the last time I leave a field in an England shirt... Incredibly overwhelmed by the support overnight! Thank you so much.."

He added: "I love England and I honestly hope they have every success in the future.."

Pietersen's former England colleague Matthew Hoggard believes there should have been a way to integrate the South Africa-born player.

Asked if Pietersen had no friends within the England squad, Hoggard, a key bowler in the 2005 Ashes-winning team, said: "I'm sure that not the case. I'm sure there's one or two.

"But they're team-mates; you don't have to be friends to play cricket together.

"You're all playing for the same outcome. You're playing under the same rules. You're playing under the same team ethos.

"If you don't play under those rules you alienate people."

Hoggard added on BBC Radio Five Live: "It's very hard to say he didn't have the heart in it for the team."

The former paceman suggested Pietersen's batting had been a "little bit reckless" in Australia and, when asked if he enjoyed playing alongside his 104-cap team-mate, Hoggard said: "I enjoyed watching Kevin Pietersen immensely.

"I can remember sitting down in 2006-07 after the first game in Perth with a beer, saying 'Kevin, there's certain things that annoy me about you, can we sit down and have a chat about them?' We had a chat and a beer and we moved on."

 

Pietersen played 104 Tests, 136 one-day internationals and 37 T20 internationals for England.

Speaking on Tuesday in a statement, Pietersen said: "Playing cricket for my country has been an honour. Every time I pulled on the England shirt was a moment of huge pride for me and that is something that will live with me forever.

"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.

"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 have a great deal still to give as a cricketer. I will continue to play but deeply regret that it won't be for England."

Pietersen's culling caps a winter of discontent for England, who have seen Flower resign, premier spinner Graeme Swann retire and senior batsman Jonathan Trott depart the scene with a stress-related illness.

PA

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