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

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star