Kevin Pietersen: Decision to move forward without batsman brings curtain down on KP's England career

After the disastrous Ashes tour, management and selectors say they want to rebuild 'team ethic and philosophy' with a clean slate

Kevin Pietersen’s international career has been brought to a sensational end. In an exit almost as spectacular as some of his great innings, he was told he was no longer wanted by England after their ill-fated tour of Australia.

It was made clear, in a statement which did not remotely go to the heart of the issue, that the man who has scored more runs for England than any other cricketer will not play again either in Test matches, one-day internationals or the Twenty20 format. The severance had to take place now because England’s squad for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh is being announced on Thursday.

Pietersen was told that he would not feature in that, in the tour to the West Indies which precedes it or, indeed, in international cricket again. Tellingly, the decision to sack him – and that is what this is – was unanimous among the management and the selectors.

It demonstrates that Pietersen, who again became isolated from the rest of the dressing room this winter, had run out of allies. He met Paul Downton, the new managing director of England cricket, and was told that now was the time to start the rebuilding of the team after the disastrous tour of Australia.

Downton, who is in his first week in the job, said: “Clearly, this was a tough decision because Kevin has been such an outstanding player for England as the fact that he is the country’s leading runscorer in international cricket demonstrates.

“However, everyone was aware that there was a need to begin the long-term planning after the Australia tour. Therefore we have decided the time is right to look to the future and start to rebuild not only the team but also team ethic and philosophy.”

The last phrase of that part of the statement is the one that counts. England in general and the captain, Alastair Cook, in particular were simply not willing to put up with Pietersen’s disruptive influence any longer.

Cook had saved Pietersen’s career once when he insisted he should stay after the damaging conflict in the summer of 2012. Dropped from the team when his attitude became too much to manage, Pietersen was eventually restored and subject to a period of reintegration.

But without Cook’s willingness to work with him it would not have happened and it is clear that the captain too was at a loss about what to do next. Pietersen was frequently distant on the tour of Australia and it was hinted that many of his former traits had returned.

He might have expected the worst after the rampant speculation of the last month. But he may have thought that his career would be saved by the commodity that counted more than any character defects, perceived or real – runs.

 

“Playing cricket for my country has been an honour,” Pietersen said. “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 for ever. 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.”

If he can muster the enthusiasm, Pietersen will now play for Surrey and in various well-paid jobs in Twenty20 leagues round the world, not least the Indian Premier League, which he professes to love. But he will be doing it only for the money, not the glory that he always craved as an outstandingly idiosyncratic batsman.

England are clearly still a better team with Pietersen than without him. But, with the player aged 33, it was much easier to make this decision now than it would have been only 12 months ago.

 

Although he was England’s leading scorer in the Ashes series (still averaging under 30) he often conveyed the impression of being distracted. When the Ashes were lost, so too was his interest in affairs.

It may well have been a matter of balance. He is a player on the slide, who could be an unsettling influence in the dressing room, so rather than go through another year or more of hell with declining returns in the runs column it was easier to cut him loose now.

Downton, who is clearly unafraid to take tough decisions, said: “ England cricket owes a debt of gratitude to Kevin, who has proved to be one of the most talented and exciting players to ever represent the country and his 13,797 runs are a testimony to his immense skill.

“This decision brings some clarity now for the future of the England teams and we all wish Kevin the very best in the rest of his career.”

Timeline: Pietersen’s England controversies

2005: Booed in homeland

Picked for England’s one-day series against his native South Africa and scores centuries in Bloemfontein, East London and Centurion amid sustained abuse from the crowd, who labelled him a traitor.

2006: Fined for dissent

Loses part of his match fee for shaking his head following his dismissal in Test against India in Nagpur.

2007: Refuses to walk

After edging against Sri Lanka in second Test in Colombo, Pietersen stands his ground, having seen replays.

(Getty)
2008: Switch-hitting

Adopts controversial switch-hitting style in one-day match against New Zealand, leading for calls for the shot to be outlawed: “Absolutely stupid,” Pietersen replies. After being made captain ahead of Test series in India, Pietersen was vocal over the need to stand up to terrorism following Mumbai attacks.

2009: Falling out with Moores

Resigns as England captain after making a disagreement with coach Peter Moores public. Pietersen called for the ECB to discuss Moores’ role within the team. Moores lost his job as a result.

2010: Dropped from T20

Tweets dissatisfaction at being omitted from T20 series in Pakistan: “Done for summer!! Man of World Cup and dropped from T20 side. Its a f*** up!!”. Leaves Hampshire, claiming he wanted to be closer to London.

2011: Nightclub visit

After being forced out of the World Cup through injury, courts controversy by being pictured in a nightclub.

May 2012: Digs out Knight

Fined by the ECB after slamming TV commentator Nick Knight on Twitter: “Can somebody please tell me how Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for Tests? Ridiculous.”

August 2012: Textgate

(Getty) Having retired from T20 and ODIs, Pietersen suggests he may have played his last Test in an extraordinary press conference after second Test against South Africa. He was later forced to apologise after admitting sending “provocative” text messages to South African team. Left out of England squad for the World T20 and not given central contract for 2012-13. Uses YouTube to commit himself to all forms of cricket.

2013-14: Ashes woe

Commitment questioned on disastrous tour of Australia as rumours of rifts with hierarchy resurface.

KP and England: Pietersen’s record

Tests

Debut 21-24 July 2005 v Australia, Lord’s

Matches 104  Runs 8,181@47.28

100s 23 50s 35

Highest score 227 v Australia, second Ashes Test, Adelaide, December 2010

One-Day Internationals

Debut 28 November 2004 v  Zimbabwe, Harare

Matches 136  Runs 4,440@40.73

100s 9 50s 25

Highest score 130 v Pakistan, Dubai, February 2012

Twenty20 internationals

Debut 13 June 2005 v  Australia, Rose Bowl

Matches 37  Runs 1,176@37.93

100s 0 50s 7

Highest score 79 v Zimbabwe, Cape Town, September 2007

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?