England will enter a new era without one of their greatest-ever batsmen after the ECB decided not to consider Kevin Pietersen for selection for the forthcoming tour of the Caribbean and subsequent World Twenty20.A career that spanned 104 Tests and more than 150 limited-overs appearances over nine years, during which time Pietersen became England’s leading run-scorer in international cricket yet became one of the most divisive players in England’s history, now appears to be over, little more than a year after his successful “reintegration” to the team on the tour of India.
The ECB said in a statement that the decision had been unanimous among the England management, adding that “now was the time to start the rebuilding process” after the disappointment of being whitewashed in Australia.
“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.
“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 13797 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.”
In a statement released by the ECB, Pietersen: “Playing cricket for my country has been an honour. 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 forever.
“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.”
The news of England forcibly retiring one of their most experienced players comes less than a week after Andy Flower stepped down as team director and follows the retirement of Graeme Swann during the disastrous Ashes tour.
Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, was one of the first ex-stars to ask for clarification. “I think the ECB have to explain to everyone exactly what KP has done so we can all have clarity and reasoning,” he tweeted.
England’s rejection of Pietersen will now make him an even more coveted asset in IPL. The IPL auction takes place on February 12 and Pietersen, even at 33, would be bound to attract a sizeable bid if he was available for the entire tournament and driven by a determination to prove England wrong. He is a free agent after being released by Delhi Daredevils, who did not retain any of their squad.
Friction between Pietersen and the ECB existed long before the Ashes series. At the start of 2009, he lost the captaincy after falling out with the coach, Peter Moores, who was also sacked; in 2012, he retired from ODI and T20 cricket and then was dropped after sending texts to members of the touring South Africa team.
Pietersen is England’s leading run scorer in all formats, with 13797 runs in 277 matches. He is fourth on England’s Test match runs list and second in terms of centuries, behind only Cook. Ahead of Pietersen playing his 100th Test in the first match of the Ashes in Australia, Mark Nicholas wrote: “That he does so on Thursday says much about his fabulous ability and something more about a ruthlessness in him that is not always apparent. He is close to being regarded as a truly great cricketer, England’s first since Ian Botham.”
GooD Bye Kevin Pietersen, England team & All Cricket Lovers will miss you. 🙁