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Kevin Pietersen will remember Sydney for all the wrong reasons

Batsman's memory of leaving the field in fifth Test vs Australia at SCG will be bitter for more than just the 0-5 Ashes loss

London: Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen expressed sadness over the end of his international career yesterday and said that he was "incredibly overwhelmed" by the support he had received.

Kevin Pietersen walks back to the pavilion after being dismissed in the Sydney Test earlier this year. Pic/Getty Images
Kevin Pietersen walks back to the pavilion after being dismissed in the Sydney Test earlier this year. Pic/Getty Images

The 33-year-old's days as an international cricketer came to an end on Tuesday when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that it had "unanimously" decided to move forward without him.

With England due to name their squads for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies and the World Twenty20 today, the ECB's new managing director, Paul Downton, elected to make a decisive call on Pietersen's future.

Pietersen posted a picture on photo-sharing website Instagram of himself leaving the field after his final Test match against Australia in Sydney during England's recent 0-5 Ashes defeat.

He wrote: "So sad that this will now be the last time I leave a field in an England shirt. "Incredibly overwhelmed by the support overnight! Thank you so much. I love England and I honestly hope they have every success in the future."

With 13,797 runs to his name, Pietersen bows out as England's all-time leading scorer across all formats of
the game.

Polarising figure
However, his outspoken personality and on-pitch single-mindedness made him a polarising figure, with former England players divided in their reactions to the news of his axing.

Former skipper Michael Vaughan wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Pietersen's sacking was "preposterous", but former fast bowler Bob Willis said that he had "disrupted every single dressing room he's been in".

Pietersen's one-time adversary Shane Warne, the former Australia spinner, branded the decision to end his international career "a disgrace".

"I also just heard the sad news re KP that he has played his last game for England, to me it's a disgrace & a joke! The ECB is in a shambles," Warne wrote on Twitter.

While former team-mate Matthew Hoggard accepted that Pietersen was not the most popular member of the England camp, he felt that a way to harness his flamboyant talents should have been found.

When it was put to him that Pietersen had no friends within the England squad, Hoggard told BBC Radio 5 Live on yesterday: "I'm sure that's not the case. I'm sure there's one or two. But they're team-mates; you don't have to be friends to play cricket together."

Mixed feelings
Nasser Hussain, Vaughan's immediate predecessor as England captain had mixed feelings at a decision that left current skipper Alastair Cook without one of his most talented players.

"History tells you with Kevin he hasn't really got a foot to stand on — whether it be back in Natal or Hampshire or Nottinghamshire, or Peter Moores or Andrew Strauss or Alastair Cook or Andy Flower, wherever he has been he has been a problem.

Pietersen said that the end of his England career was something that he would "deeply regret", but vowed that he would continue to play domestic cricket. 

KP's milestones

> 1997-98: First-class debut for Natal as an off-spinning all-rounder
> 2004: In November, makes England ODI debut against Zimbabwe in Harare
> 2005: In February scores three hundreds in an away ODI series against South Africa
> 2005: In July, scores 57 and 64 on Test debut in 239-run defeat by Australia in the Ashes opener at Lord’s after England drop Graham Thorpe
> 2005: In September, scores a breathtaking maiden Test hundred, making 158 to see England to a draw at The Oval that sees the Ashes regained from Australia
> 2008: Replaces Michael Vaughan as Test captain and Paul Collingwood as one-day skipper, with England wanting a leader across all formats
> 2010-11: Stars in England’s
3-1 Ashes series win in Australia, making a Test best 227 in Adelaide
> 2014: In January, with 294 runs at 29.40 is England’s highest scorer in 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia
> 2014: On February 4, declares his international career finished after it is announced by the ECB that he will not be part of England squads

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