Batsman Kevin Pietersen said his England cricket career is over after he was left out of the national squad for a tour of the Caribbean and the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
His exclusion, announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board yesterday, came four days after Andy Flower quit as England coach following the 5-0 Ashes series loss in Australia.
“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,” Paul Downton, managing director of England cricket, said in an ECB statement. “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.”
Pietersen said he was “obviously very sad the incredible journey has come to an end,” adding that he’s “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,” he said “I will continue to play but deeply regret that it won’t be for England.’
South African-born Pietersen, 33, has played in 104 Tests, scoring 8,181 runs at an average of 47.28, as well as in 136 one-day internationals and 37 Twenty20s.
England is scheduled to play a one-day series in the West Indies starting later this month before taking part in the World Twenty20 in March.
The auction for the Indian Premier League takes place next week, with Pietersen one of the players most in demand. His availability will now be increased by his lack of involvement with the England team.
Pietersen helped England win three straight Ashes series against Australia and was the team’s top scorer even as it slumped to defeat in the latest contest that ended last month.
He has been regularly surrounded by controversy in the national team since making his Test debut at Lord’s in the victorious Ashes series over Australia in 2005.
When he was England captain in 2008, he fell out with coach Peter Moores in a row that ended with both men losing those posts.
Pietersen was left out of the team in 2012 after sending “provocative” text messages to friends on the South African squad about England captain Andrew Strauss. He was later reinstated after apologizing.
Pietersen had also been in a wrangle about his playing commitments. He’d wanted to give up 50-over games for England and play just Tests and Twenty20s but national contracts didn’t allow that. In May 2012 he said he’d therefore focus on Tests, then later said he’d be prepared to play all forms of the game.
Flower, a former international Test captain for Zimbabwe, was appointed as coach in 2009 and guided the team to three consecutive Ashes series wins before the recent rout in Australia. He also oversaw England’s tournament victory in the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup, before also leading the side to No. 1 in the Test rankings in 2011.