Kevin Pietersen's turbulent relationship with the England and Wales Cricket Board has taken one of its most dramatic steps yet, with the batsman's shock retirement from one-day and Twenty20 internationals.
Pietersen, 31, has found himself at the centre of several awkward situations since making his England debut in 2004 but this is arguably the most serious, ending the limited-overs career of the country's most natural ball-striker and bankable star.
Pietersen himself made the decision to withdraw from 50-over cricket but the real intrigue lies in the ECB's decision to effectively retire him from the shorter format against his will.
Pietersen, man of the tournament when England won the World Twenty20 in the West Indies two years ago, wanted to spearhead the defence of the that crown in Sri Lanka later this year but that offer was declined by the board.
They have decided that centrally contracted players must make themselves available for both limited-overs formats or neither and, with no compromise possible, it was announced that Pietersen would continue as a Test specialist only.
It means Pietersen, who has 127 ODIs and 36 T20 caps to his name, departs the scene having hit back-to-back centuries in his last two one-day appearances against Pakistan.
Announcing the news, Pietersen said: "After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I am today announcing my retirement from international one-day cricket.
"With the intensity of the international schedule and the increasing demands on my body, approaching 32, I think it is the right time to step aside and let the next generation of players come through to gain experience for the ICC World Cup in 2015.
"I am immensely proud of my achievements in the one-day game, and still wish to be considered for selection for England in Test cricket.
"For the record, were the selection criteria not in place, I would have readily played for England in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20."
In the absence of any reaction from team director Andy Flower, England cricket's managing director Hugh Morris offered the ECB's take on events.
He put on record the organisations thanks for Pietersen's efforts - which yielded 4184 runs at 41.84 in ODI cricket and 1176 runs at 37.93 in the 20-overs game - but made little attempt to hide a sense of dissatisfaction that the news comes so close to England's World Twenty20 campaign.
"ECB is disappointed by the timing of Kevin's decision less than four months before we defend our ICC World Twenty20 title," said Morris.
"Kevin is a world-class player and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his efforts and we look forward to his continued contributions to the Test match side."
Morris also took the chance to offer some rationale for the decision not to consider Pietersen for Twenty20 matches, in spite of his willingness to play.
He added: "As the programming and planning for ODI and T20 format cricket are very closely linked we have a selection policy that means that any player making himself unavailable for either of the one-day formats, rules himself out of consideration for both formats. The selectors will now replace Kevin in both the ODI and the T20 squads."
This ruling has not explicitly acknowledged by the ECB before, with the last senior man to retire from one-dayers being Andrew Strauss, who was already out of the Twenty20 set-up.
Rumours that Pietersen was planning to abandon ODIs can be traced back to the end of the 2011 World Cup but, when asked directly ahead of the first Test last summer he embarked on a long and occasionally tetchy defence of his hunger to perform across the formats.
He went on to play just 13 more ODI matches and six Twenty20s for his adopted country.
Pietersen infamously ended his brief stint as national captain after a rift with then coach Peter Moores became public knowledge in early 2009 and has been involved in other controversies since then.
He was left out of England's one-day squad for the first time due to to poor form in 2010 - a decision he inadvertently announced on Twitter, describing it as a "f*** up". Another Tweet, criticising Sky TV commentator Nick Knight earned him a fine of between £2,000 and £3,000.
He also drew veiled criticism from Flower after leaving last year's World Cup with an injury England medics believed was manageable.
But none of those situations resulted in England losing the services of one of their star performers, and the effects of today's news may only be truly appreciated when the team touch down in Colombo to defend the only ICC global trophy they have ever won.
Kevin Pietersen: Factfile
1980: Born June 27 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, to an Afrikaans father and an English mother.
1997-98: Makes first-class debut for Natal as an off-spinning all-rounder.
2001: Joins Nottinghamshire with a view to qualifying as an England player, having become frustrated with the quota selection system in South Africa.
Averages more than 50 for the third season running but becomes disenchanted with his county employers and threatens to sue for unfair dismissal, even though relegated Nottinghamshire insist he has not been sacked.
Stars for England A in Malaysia and India.
Remains a Nottinghamshire player and helps his team return to the top flight of the County Championship at the first attempt.
September: Selected for the troubled one-day international tour of Zimbabwe even though his qualification period for eligibility is not complete until October.
October: Before travelling to Namibia and Zimbabwe, quits Nottinghamshire for Hampshire.
January - Joins the England squad for the ODI series against his native South Africa.
February - Registers maiden, unbeaten century with 108 in the second match in Bloemfontein. Scores further centuries in East London and Centurion.
Becomes the fastest man in history to reach 500 one-day international runs.
Overlooked for Test series against Bangladesh, but named in England's 25-man development squad and one-day squad.
July 14: Named in England Test squad ahead of Graham Thorpe.
July 24: Scores 57 and 64 on debut but Australia crush England by 239 runs.
August 7: Contributes 71 off 76 balls in the first innings as England win by two runs in the second Test at Edgbaston.
September 12: Scores century to rescue England, who claim the Ashes with a draw in the final Test at The Oval.
March - Fined 30% of his match fee for dissent after a dismissal in the first Test against India. Equals Viv Richards' record of 21 innings to reach 1,000 ODI runs.
May: Becomes the first batsman since 1990 to score a century in three successive Test innings on English soil with 142 against Sri Lanka.
January - England's best player in the 2006-07 Ashes in Australia, scoring 490 runs and averaging over 50.
April: Scores 104 off 122 against Australia, the first World Cup century by an Englishman since 1996. In England's final match against the West Indies, Pietersen makes 100 from 91.
May: Posts his highest score of 226 in the second Test against the West Indies at Headingley.
June - Uses the innovative 'switch hit' in the ODI series against New Zealand - smashing Scott Styris for two sixes. Appointed temporary ODI captain after Paul Collingwood is suspended for four matches.
August 3 - Replaces Michael Vaughan as Test captain and Collingwood as one-day skipper.
August 8 - Scores century in debut innings as Test captain.
September 3 - Captains England to a 4-0 thrashing of South African in the one-day series.
January 1 - Reports of a rift between Pietersen and coach Peter Moores surface.
January 7 - Resigns as England captain.
February - Royal Bangalore Challengers pay a record 1.5m US dollars for Pietersen's services in the IPL auction.
July 22 - With England leading the Ashes 1-0 after two Tests, Pietersen is ruled out of the remainder of the series because of an Achilles injury.
February-March - Struggles for form, particularly against left-arm spin, on the tour of Bangladesh with just 69 from his first seven innings.
April-May - Enjoys a fine tournament as England win the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, with an unbeaten 73 against Pakistan and 47 in the final victory over Australia.
June 17 - Announces he will not be renewing his Hampshire contract.
June 22 - Plays his 100th ODI against Australia.
August 11 - Left out of Hampshire's squad for Twenty20 finals day.
August 31 - A post on his Twitter account says that he is to be dropped from England's limited-overs matches against Pakistan and has signed for Surrey.
November 2010-January 2011 - On top form in England's Ashes series win in Australia, with the highlight a career-best 227 in Adelaide.
March 7 - Injury forces him out of England's World Cup campaign.
July - Passes 6,000 Test runs with his third Test double-hundred, against India at Lord's.
May 23 - Fined by the ECB for a Twitter outburst against Sky commentator Nick Knight.
May 31 - Retires from one-day and Twenty20 internationals.