Pietersen set to leave Hampshire

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The Independent Online

The announcement yesterday that Kevin Pietersen was leaving Hampshire elicited two possible reactions. First was astonishment that he had ever been at the county. Second, were you aware that he had indeed moved there from Nottinghamshire in 2005, was to ask if there had been a point to it.

In his six seasons as a supposed representative of the county (has the phrase "of Hampshire and England" ever looked dafter?) Pietersen has played only seven Championship matches, just one of them after he made his Test debut in 2005. In addition, there were also 19 limited-overs matches, two of them Twenty20.

Pietersen is moving at the end of the summer because he lives in Chelsea and he has absolutely no affinity with the county. His recruitment has been mutually unbeneficial, though most of his wages have been paid by the ECB.

His only option now would seem to be to join Middlesex or Surrey. Though Pietersen might put bottoms on seats whenever he played and though both clubs are serial recruiters, there may not be a rush for his signature simply because he would be so rarely available. Such a scenario will be repeated and will be a continual shortcoming of the central contract system.