Kevin Pietersen, the England batsman, has announced his retirement from all limited-overs international with immediate effect. Pietersen, who has scored 4184 One-day International runs at an average of 41.84, also managed 1176 runs from 36 T20 Internationals at an average of nearly 38.
When making his decision public, Pietersen cited an increasingly busy international calendar as his primary reason to focus purely on Test cricket. "After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I am today announcing my retirement from International One Day Cricket," said Pietersen on Thursday. "With the intensity of the international schedule and the increasing demands on my body, approaching 32, I think it is the right time to step aside and let the next generation of players come through to gain experience for the ICC World Cup in 2015."
Pietersen made it clear that he hoped to play Test cricket for England and it was understood that his retirement would not affect his commitment to the Delhi Daredevils, who he plays for in the Indian Premier League.
It was also clarified that Pietersen would take no part in the forthcoming ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka as the England and Wales Cricket Board had decided that long-term planning in ODIs and T20Is was closely interlinked. "Pietersen, who discussed his position with the ECB during the recent Test against the West Indies at Lord's, accepts that his current contract will continue to run through to September 2012 but that the contract will be downgraded to reflect the fact that he will only be selected for Test match cricket for the remainder of his current contract," an ECB spokesperson said. "The terms of the central contract state that any player making himself unavailable for either of the one-day formats automatically rules himself out of consideration for both formats of the game as planning for both formats is closely linked."
While accepting the ECB's position, Pietersen clarified, "For the record, were the selection criteria not in place, I would have readily played for England in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20."
Hugh Morris, managing director of England Cricket, said: "The ECB is disappointed by the timing of Kevin's decision less than four months before we defend our ICC World Twenty20 title. Kevin is a world-class player and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his efforts and we look forward to his continued contributions to the Test match side.
"As the programming and planning for ODI and T20 format cricket are very closely linked we have a selection policy that means that any player making himself unavailable for either of the one day formats, rules himself out of consideration for both formats. The selectors will now replace Kevin in both the ODI and the T20 squads."
Pietersen, who was born in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa, made his international debut against Zimbabwe in Harare in 2004. While he has emerged into a dominant force as a Test batsmen, Pietersen's returns of 10 centuries from 137 ODIs is disappointing for a player who has the ability to take apart any bowling attack. Pietersen's highest score in ODIs, 130, came against Pakistan in Dubai earlier this year.
Story first published on: Thursday, 31 May 2012 16:17 IST