England pack off Pietersen

Maverick batsman left out of team, ending his controversial international career

England pack off Pietersen

 Kevin Pietersen's brilliant and controversial international career ended on Tuesday as the fallout from England's woeful Ashes campaign claimed the scalp of one of the country's most mercurial batting talents.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) brought the curtain down on Pietersen's near 10-year spell at the top by leaving him out of the squad for this year's World Twenty20 and limited overs tour of the Caribbean.

Paul Downton, the managing director of England cricket, cited a need "to rebuild not only the team but also team ethic and philosophy", effectively closing the door on a player frequently labelled a disruptive dressing-room influence.

"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," Downton said.

"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."

The 33-year-old South-African born Pietersen, who played in 104 Test matches, 136 one-day internationals and 37 Twenty20 internationals for England, was left in little doubt that he would not grace the international stage again.

"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," he said in the statement.

"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 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."

A swashbuckling batsman, Pietersen polarised opinion, and came in for heavy criticism after England's 5-0 Ashes surrender in Australia, which finished last month, despite being their highest run-scorer.

Pietersen's impact on and off the field was dramatic and a year ago he completed his reintegration into the England fold after making peace with the ECB in a row over "provocative" text messages that led to him being dropped.

He even committed to playing for England in all three forms of the game until at least 2015.

However, only last month former England coach Andy Flower felt compelled to issue a statement denying a dressing-room rift.

British media had claimed Flower, who stepped down last week, had threatened to quit if Pietersen continued to be part of the team's rebuilding process.

The supremely talented Pietersen was hailed as a "million pound asset" by limited-overs coach Ashley Giles, a contender to replace Flower, when named last month in England's provisional 30-member squad for the Twenty20 World Cup.

Yet the fallout from the woeful Ashes campaign was so stark that many pundits felt England needed a clean slate and that Pietersen would follow spinner Graeme Swann, who retired during the Test series, and Flower out of the exit door.

Pietersen is now likely to turn his attention to the money-spinning Indian Premier League and other lucrative short-format competitions that were frequently a bone of contention when he was involved with England. The batsman put his name down for next month's IPL auction and is seeking a new franchise after Delhi Daredevils opted not to retain any of their players from last season.

“I think ECB have to explain to everyone exactly what Pietersen has done so we can all have clarity and reasoning .. I think ECB have to explain to everyone exactly what @KP24 has done so we can all have clarity and reasoning.  It’s sad that we can't manage someone like @KP24
Michael Vaughan
Former England captain

“I also just heard the sad news re: KP that he has played his last game for England, to me it's a disgrace & a joke ! The ECB is in a shambles.”
Shane Warne
Former Australia leg-spinner

“There must have been things happening behind the scenes that Flower and Cook weren't amused with and it would be nice to know from the ECB - if you're going to axe one of your best players - what those things are.”
Nasser Hussain
Former England captain

“It was coming, I think. There was a unanimity of views there from the people that count, so ultimately I think Kevin Pietersen found himself friendless. He had no allies amongst the management, the hierarchy and the senior players as well because Paul Downton would have been taking soundings from them at the end of the Ashes tour. It was a pretty horrific Ashes tour and there have been a few victims along the way.
Michael Atherton
Former England captain

“I think everyone needs to remember what a terrific player he has been and the entertainment he has given. I think it's about time the ECB put out an official statement so we all know what is going on. He is 33, not 43.”
Ian Botham
Former England all-rounder

“He (Pietersen) was an individual ... I was one (as well). You can be an individual within the team but not an individual full stop — take it or leave it.”
Geoffrey Boycott
Former England skipper

n  Born June 27, 1980, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Right-hand batsman, occasional off-spinner.

n  He qualified to play for England in September 2004 because of his English-born mother.

n  He made two half-centuries on his Test debut against Australia in Lord's in 2005. His knock of 158 in final match at The Oval helped secure the draw which gave England the Ashes.

n  Sparked controversy by switch-hitting Scott Styris for two sixes in first one-day international against New Zealand in 2008.

n  Named England Test and one-day captain in August 2008.

n  His stint as captain was short-lived as in January 2009 he resigned after a fall-out with coach Peter Moores.

n  Part of successful Ashes-winning sides in 2005, 2009, 2010-2011 and 2013.

n  He played in 104 Test matches, 136 one-day internationals and 37 Twenty20 internationals.

n He scored 8181 Test runs at an average of 47.29 with a high score of 227, 4440 ODI runs and 1176 Twenty20 runs.

n  Pietersen announced his retirement from all forms of international limited-overs cricket in May 2012.

n  Although he retracted this, his relationship with the ECB soured and he was dropped for the final Test of the series against South Africa in a row over "provocative" text messages he sent to South African players.

n  2013: Played in victorious home Ashes series, and the 0-5 defeat in Australia.

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