Kevin Pietersen’s decision to quit limited-overs cricket is no surprise
It is not surprising Kevin Pietersen has sacrificed part of his international career at such a young age, writes William Roe
Life is never simple with Kevin Pietersen, and his England cricketing story took another sharp turn on Thursday when he announced his retirement from international limited-overs cricket.
The 31-year-old boasts an impressive record, becoming the fastest batsman to reach 1,000 and 2,000 runs in one-day international cricket, and he helped England to the Twenty20 World Cup in 2010.
“I think it is the right time to step aside and let the next generation of players come through to gain experience for the World Cup in 2015,” he told the BBC.
“I still wish to be considered for selection for England in Test cricket.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board regulations state a player with a central contract cannot cherry pick between 50-over cricket and the Twenty20 format.
As a result, the right-hander will not be available to help England defend their Twenty20 crown in this year’s World Cup, despite stating that he happily would, adding more fire to an already tempestuous relationship with the ECB.
He was recently fined £2,000 by the ECB for remarks made on his Twitter page about the credentials of Sky Sports commentator Nick Knight.
Pietersen may have decided he would be best served benefiting from the obvious perks associated with playing in the Indian Premier League – time is of the essence for the cricketer as he fast approaches his 32nd birthday.
One thing is for certain, Pietersen and the ECB have never seen eye-to-eye – but it is refreshing in the modern era for a player to persevere with Test cricket.
Pietersen could easily have followed the example of West Indies batsman Chris Gayle, who has been plying his trade in the IPL while his country have struggled to match England in the current Test series.
The Surrey batsman knows the demands of international cricket, and his exciting batting will be sorely missed by England’s ODI and T20 squads – his last two ODI innings resulted in centuries.
It is a rare decision as few players in any sport, especially cricket where batsman traditionally can play late into their thirties, would decide to retire so prematurely.
However, it is unquestionable that the lucrative IPL – where Pietersen represents the Delhi Daredevils franchise – is having an effect on the international game.
With such a packed schedule for cricketers, and the money available in the T20 format, it is not surprising Pietersen has sacrificed part of his international career at such a young age.
England are fortunate that he has chosen to play on at Test level – it may not be the same story with the next retiree from the limited-overs game.