Kevin Pietersen's International Career Done and Dusted as England Decide to Rebuild Without Temperamental Right-Hander
By Deepak Vikraman | February 5, 2014 3:37 PM EST
It was not one or the other after all.
A few days after Andy Flower announced he was stepping down from England's team director - a fancy name for coach - position, Kevin Pietersen, the man that Flower did not exactly see eye to eye with, also declared his career as an England player was over.
The ECB decided to move on to a new era of England cricket by leaving Pietersen out of the upcoming West Indies series and the World T20 and with it pretty much ending the batsman's international career - a career which saw him play 104 Tests, 136 ODIs and 37 T20Is.
"Playing cricket for my country has been an honour," Pietersen said in a statement. "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 South Africa-born 33-year-old has been undoubtedly one of England's greatest ever batsman, but was also a divisive figure in the dressing room.
Pietersen reportedly did not get along too well with Flower or captain Alastair Cook, and the former's future was in doubt following the Ashes debacle, which saw England thrashed by Australia 5-0.
While there is absolutely no doubting Pietersen's ridiculous skills with the willow - he is still without a shadow of a doubt England's best batsman and most potent matchwinner - unfortunately, for the right-hander, he will also be remembered for several off-field issues, which led to him being left out of the squad on a few occasions.
Everything seemed to be going swimmingly well after Pietersen was reintegrated back into the team following that text messaging scandal a little over a year ago, but as is always the case, when the going is bad, heads roll, and Flower and Pietersen seem to have faced the brunt.
Pietersen met with Test and ODI skipper Cook, limited-overs coach Ashley Giles and national selector James Whitaker and decided it was time to move one.
"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," new managing director of England Cricket Paul 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."
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