England's explosive middle-order batsman Kevin Pietersen on Thursday announced his retirement from international limited-overs cricket, sending shockwaves across the cricketing fraternity.
His decision took the England and Wales Cricket Board and the world 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.
Reacting to the news, Indian skipper MS Dhoni expressed surprise at Pietersen's decision. “That was surprising news. That means he is not going to be part of IPL. He has been a fantastic cricketer. Not to forget his influence in the IPL. I really enjoyed his batting, really enjoyed his presence in the field, though not much as opposition. Hope he continues to do great in Test cricket,” he said.
Dhoni added, “KP is a great player. Not just England but the cricket fraternity will miss his presence in the upcoming ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka.”
Former IPL Commisioner Lalit Modi was saddened by the 31-year-old cricketer's sudden move. Modi tweeted, "Shocked by Kevin Pietersen’s decision. Thought he would have played until the T20 World Cup!"
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted, " Trying to get my mind around Kevin Pietersen's decision. Do England play too much one-day cricket during the IPL window?"
Kevin Pietersen was trending on the micro-blogging site on Thursday with almost many people being angry at the ECB for barring Pietersen from T20 internationals as well.
According to the British media, Pietersen’s decided to quit ODIs to focus his energies on England’s T20 campaign. The ECB though said that Pietersen would not be considered for selection to England's T20 squad since according to a rule, centrally contracted players had to make themselves available for both limited-overs formats -- ODIs and T20s.
Interestlngly, Pietersen, who averages 38 in international T20 cricket was player of the tournament in England's World Twenty20 triumph in the West Indies in 2010 with 248 runs in six matches at an average of 62.
This got sharp reactions from former cricketers. England's former captain Michael Vaughan wrote on Twitter, "Sad to see KP retire from ODIs and T20s internationally. He is one of the best players without doubt in T20. Will miss representing his country in the (T20) World Cup this year. Seriously need a change (in rule) at the ECB."
Hitting out at the ECB's decision, talk show host Piers Morgan tweeted, "Absolutely ridiculous that ECB won't let @kevinpp24 play T20 for England. Change that rule NOW you clowns (sic)."