Pietersen's England career over

  • Last Updated: February 4 2014, 20:46 GMT

Kevin Pietersen's international career is over after nine turbulent years, with England's management making a unanimous decision to rebuild without their star batsman.

Kevin Pietersen: England career appears to be over
Kevin Pietersen: England career appears to be over

Pietersen's future has, not for the first time, been the subject of fierce debate in recent weeks and his exclusion from March's World Twenty20 - as well as the earlier one-day tour of West Indies - closes the door on a colourful, if controversial chapter.

An England and Wales Board released a statement on Tuesday evening read: "Kevin Pietersen met with Paul Downton, the Managing Director England Cricket, this week and was told that the unanimous decision of the England management, including the selectors, was that now was the time to start the rebuilding process after England's disappointing winter in Australia."

Pietersen's international exile caps a winter of discontent for England, who have seen team director Andy Flower resign, premier spinner Graeme Swann retire and key batsman Jonathan Trott depart the scene with a stress-related illness.

Pietersen has been around longer than all of them, bursting on to the Test arena in the memorable Ashes summer of 2005, but there have been almost as many bust-ups as memorable innings and his England days have seemed close to a dramatic end on several occasions.

Now, with a dismal Ashes tour behind it, the ECB has opted for a clean slate.

Downton, who has only been officially in position as managing director for a matter of days, explained the decision but limited-overs coach Ashley Giles, captain Alastair Cook and national selector James Whitaker have also had their say.

Downton's suggestion that England wish to "rebuild not only the team but also team ethic and philosophy" are perhaps the most telling words about Pietersen, who has long been criticised for his egocentric nature.

Pietersen has accepted his England days are over, after 104 Tests, 136 one-day internationals and 37 T20 internationals.

He said: "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."

Reports emerged at the end of England's 5-0 Ashes whitewash that Flower had issued a 'him or me' ultimatum to the ECB after strains in his relationship with Pietersen reached untenable proportions.

Flower denied that, albeit in a carefully-worded response that excluded Pietersen's name, but his subsequent resignation as team director seemed to pave the way for the 33-year-old to continue.

It soon became clear that would not be the case and Downton, the former England wicketkeeper, met with the player before canvassing the opinions of the other key men in England's power structure.

Dispensing with the country's top aggregate run-scorer in all formats, not to mention a four-time Ashes winner - will not have come easily, but Downton was eager to end any uncertainty.

"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 run scorer in international cricket demonstrates," said Downton.

"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 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."

Pietersen's talent on the pitch is matched only by his ability to attract enmity off it.

He left his native South Africa with no love lost on either side and departed both Nottinghamshire and Hampshire under a cloud.

But it is his rollercoaster ride with his adopted country that will be best remembered.

He was a surprising appointment as England captain in August 2008 but his reign lasted only five months when an attempt to oust then coach Peter Moores resulted in both men losing their jobs, though Pietersen retained his place in the team.

He came even closer to being exiled in the summer of 2012.

At the end of the Headingley Test against South Africa he gave an unforgettable press conference where he suggested his next match may be his last and claimed "it's not easy being me in that dressing room".

Information then leaked that he had sent what were later termed "provocative" text messages to members of the Proteas side - reportedly about his captain Andrew Strauss.

Pietersen was duly dropped for the final Test of the summer and, when Strauss' successor Cook lobbied for his return, was asked to undergo a "reintegration" period.

He played a leading role in the historic series win in India later that year and, last summer, added a fourth Ashes success to a CV that also included wins in 2005, 2009 and 2010/11.

But his age and previous bust-ups left his position weaker than ever and a modest return with the bat this winter, coupled with yet more reports of internal discord, led to his ultimate demise.

His next stop will surely be a full season in the Indian Premier League - a long-held ambition that underpinned many of his issues with the ECB - and any number of lucrative deals across the globe.

Whether he is seen in English cricket again is less certain.

His deal with Surrey is tied to his ECB central contract and may no longer be a going concern.


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