England were today rocked by the news that Kevin Pietersen is out of the remainder of the Ashes.
Pietersen, 29, has been ruled out of action for six weeks following an operation on his Achilles tendon.
After being assessed by a leading specialist earlier today it was decided that surgery was the best option.
Pietersen said: "As an England cricketer the Ashes are the pinnacle of the game so I'm absolutely devastated to be missing the rest of this series.
"Up until now the Achilles injury has been manageable but it recently reached the point where we needed to look at other options in terms of treatment.
"I hate missing matches for England and especially during an Ashes summer but now that the decision has been made to undergo surgery I'm confident I can return to the England team injury-free following a course of rehabilitation."
Pietersen first incurred the discomfort earlier this summer and sat out the one-day series against the West Indies to recuperate.
But the combination of rest and painkilling injections could not get him through English cricket's premier series.
"Following a consultation, involving scans and testing, with the world's leading Achilles specialist, Kevin Pietersen today underwent surgery on his right Achilles tendon," confirmed England and Wales Cricket Board chief medical officer Nick Peirce.
"The operation involved a small incision and trimming of the blood vessels and nerves around the inflamed tendon and appears, at this early stage, to have been routine.
"Kevin will look to undertake a comprehensive rehabilitation programme to ensure there is no risk of recurrence.
"This is expected to be approximately six weeks but will be taken at an appropriate pace following constant review."
Although Pietersen played in the 115-run victory over Australia at Lord's, he spent lengthy spells off the field and was clearly in pain when running.
"I was pleased with the previous course of treatment as it allowed me to take part in this Ashes series but unfortunately the injury has recently deteriorated," said Pietersen.
"To leave a winning dressing room at this time is heartbreaking but it wouldn't be fair to the team or myself to continue given the severity of the injury.
"I'll be supporting the team closely and wish them the best of luck as they look to build on the brilliant win at Lord's and reclaim the Ashes."