London: In a shock announcement, England batsman Kevin Pietersen has decided to retire from international limited-overs cricket with immediate effect. A press release from the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed Pietersen’s decision, which was taken in consultation with the board during the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s recently.
“After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I am today announcing my retirement from international one-day cricket,” said Pietersen in the media release. “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.
“I am immensely proud of my achievements in the one-day game, but still wish to be considered for selection for England in Test cricket. For the record, were the selection criteria not in place, I would have readily played for England in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20."
Pietersen’s ECB contract is due to expire in September and the board has said that the 31-year-old will be downgraded to reflect the fact that he will only be available for selection in Test cricket. Per the ECB’s rules, any player who makes himself available for either ODI or Twenty20 cricket automatically rules himself out of selection for both formats. The ECB’s stance behind this guideline is based on a focus to improve England’s ODI reputation with an eye on next year’s ICC Champions Trophy and the 2015 World Cup.
Commenting on Pietersen’s decision, the ECB’s managing director of cricket Hugh Morris 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.”
Since making his international debut in 2004, the South Africa-born Pietersen has played 127 ODIs and 36 Twenty20 internationals for England. In ODIs he has scored 4184 runs at 41.84 and in Twenty20s he has made 1176 at 37.93.