KEVIN Pietersen’s England career is over after he was told last night that he no longer figured in plans for the future, with the batsman saying he “deeply regrets” that he won’t play for his country again.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that Pietersen had been left out of the squad for this year’s World Twenty20 and limited overs tour of the Caribbean, bringing the curtain down on an international career in which he was England’s leading run-scorer in all formats.
“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,” the ECB said in a statement.
South-African born Pietersen, 33, who played in 104 Test matches, 136 one-day internationals and 37 Twenty20 internationals for England in a nine-year career, was left in little doubt that he would not play for his country again.
“Everyone was aware that there was a need to begin the long-term planning after the Australia tour,” said Downton.
“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 “very sad” that his international days were over but added that he would continue to play the game, with the Indian Premier League a possible destination.
“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.”
Pietersen came in for heavy criticism after England’s 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia, which finished last month, despite being their highest run-scorer.
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.
However, last month former England coach Andy Flower felt compelled to issue a statement denying a dressing-room rift. The decision to jettison Pietersen has been described as a “massive shock” by former national team captain Nasser Hussain.
“There must have been things that were happening behind the scenes that Flower and [captain Alastair] Cook weren’t amused with,” he said.
“It would be nice to know from the ECB, if you’re going to axe one of your best players, what those things were.”