England Super Star Kevin Pietersen retired from all forms of ODI and Twenty20 on Thursday, a decision which took the England and Wales Cricket Board by surprise.
Pietersen, who will continue to be available for Test selection, said in a statement he wished to step aside in order to give the next generation of players a chance to bed in before the 2015 World Cup. After a big deal of thought and reflection, I am today announcing my retirement from ODI cricket, said Pietersen.
With the intensity of the international schedule and the increasing demands on my body, future 32, I think it is the right time to step aside and let the next generation of players come through to increase experience for the ICC World Cup in 2015, added Pietersen, who has scored 4,184 runs at an standard of 42 in ODI and averages 38 in international Twenty20 cricket.
Pietersen's decision comes less than 4 months before England are due to launch the defense of their Twenty20 World Cup crown in September. The South Africa-born batsman was man of the match when England wins the title in the West Indies in 2010, and had indicated a willingness to remain part of the T20 squad in Sri Lanka this year.
However England Cricket Board rules dictate that centrally-contracted players must make themselves available for all forms of limited-overs cricket. I am immensely proud of my achievements in the ODI game, and still wish to be considering for choice for England in Test cricket, Pietersen said. For the record, were the selection criteria not in place, I would have with pleasure played for England in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20.
Pietersen's decision was greeted with dismay by ECB managing director Hugh Morris. The ECB is let down by the timing of Pietersen's decision less than 4 months before we defend our ICC World Twenty20 title, he said. Pietersen's is a world-class player and I would like to take this chance to thank.