Sports personalities throng Twitter to express surprise, anger over explosive batsman Kevin Pietersen's sacking by ECB.
The news that explosive but controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen's England career is over has sent the world of social media into a frenzy with sports personalities going online to express their disbelief.
Pietersen expressed sadness over the end of his international career on Wednesday and said that he was "incredibly overwhelmed" by the support he had received.
He 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 5-0 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."
End of the road for Kevin Pietersen? Pic/AFP
Meanwhile, Pietersen's wife, British pop star Jessica Taylor, took to Twitter to criticise former England bowler Dominic Cork for claiming that Pietersen had clashed with captain Alastair Cook during the Australia tour.
"Dominic Cork - there was no 'squaring up' to Alastair Cook or 'off-field antics' in Australia - you are lying, plain & simple," she wrote.
She later added: "Regurgitating rumour & spinning it as fact is not what I'd call responsible journalism. The public deserve so much better - the truth."
Angered over the decision, former England captain Michael Vaughan said on Twitter that he believes Pietersen should still play for England as they have a World T20, a World Cup and the Ashes coming up in the future. He tweeted, “I don't buy the thought, Looking to the future. England have a T20 WC in 4 weeks.WC in 12 months.Ashes in 18 months. @KP24 should still play.”
He added, “I would have thought a new coach/director would want a full set of players to decide from himself..!!? IMO that would have included @KP24...
“I think the @ECB_cricket have to explain to everyone exactly what @KP24 has done so we can all have clarity and reasoning...
“Sad way to end a mavericks England Career .@KP24 will be missed...Would love to know what he does that is unmanageable !!??”
Australia legend Shane Warne, who was touted as one of the frontrunners for the England head coaching job, says the ECB has made a huge mistake.
Warne, a friend of Pietersen, tweeted: "Sad news KP has played his last game for England, to me it's a digrace & a joke! The ECB is a shambles."
Former England football star Gary Lineker placed the blame squarely with ECB management and poor captaincy, saying that instead of bringing out the best from such a 'maverick', the ECB has managed Pietersen poorly, while West Indies legend Chris Gayle expressed his disappointment for the England fans.
Linekar wrote on the micro blogging site, “Hard to understand the @KP24 situation. Huge talent, poorly managed. Good leaders deal with mavericks. Bring out the best in them.”
He added, “Swansea have sacked @KP24 . Worse still, they've sacked Michael Laudrup. Absolutely bonkers. World's gone mad!”
West Indian opener Chris Gayle, who has had plenty of run-ins of his own with cricket administrators, hoped that authorities learnt to manage big stars better. He tweeted, “No @KP24 for the Caribbean tour later this month against W.I?That's really sad for English/International cricket! Don't let the fans suffer. Was really looking for the hype of having @KP24 in the caribbean, would be big tickets sales for us. #Sad - Learn to MANAGE Big Names!!”
Former South African Test star Mark Boucher and Australian footballer Tim Cahill also expressed their surprise, with Boucher sarcastically saying that times must be good for England to leave their best player out of the team, while Cahill called on Pietersen to enjoy some quality time with his family.
Cahill tweeted, “Wow no @KP24 for England. Highest run scorer for his country and being left out. Enjoy some quality time with the family mate.”
Former Aussie cricketer Dean Jones thought the sacking would not play out well for Australian spin legend Shane Warne, adding that the ECB has made it harder for Warne to be manager for England now.
He tweeted, “ECB making it harder for Warne to be manager now with #KPSacked . Paul Downton clearing the deck”
While expressing disbelief over the sudden act, former England pacer Stephen Harmison reiterated the fact that Kevin Pietersen was the country’s best player. He wrote, “Can't believe what I'm hearing & reading tonight!! Sad day for English cricket fans, Love or hate him, Kp still the best player we've got!!”
Former England cricketer Adam Hollioake tweeted, "My feeling on KP sacking is if u get rid of a player based on non cricketing reasons u need 2 explain wot they r..Not good enuf 2 say nuthin."
He added, "If i was a manager & had to sack someone cos i couldnt manage them i would feel i had failed at my job... Gotta be better than that #KP".
Ex-England skipper Mike Atherton posted, “Must have written more words over the years about kp than any other player. journos at least will miss him.”
British journalist Piers Morgan, who has been unequivocal in his support of Kevin Pietersen, was upset by the ECB axing the 33-year-old batsman from the England squad. In a hour-long tirade on Twitter, the TV host slammed the England Cricket Board, labelling them ‘gutless assassins’ and ‘spineless losers’, as well as calling captain Alastair Cook a 'repulsive little weasel'.
He posted on the micro blogging site: "Kevin Pietersen’s England future apparently being decided right now. He’s just 33, best batsman we have, and was highest Ashes run-scorer.
"If these @KP24 rumours are true, then I expect every English sports fan to rise up in fury at his gutless assassins.
"Our greatest ever batsman, still just 33, made scapegoat for an Ashes debacle in which HE was top run-scorer??? Absolute disgrace.
"I can confirm Kevin Pietersen has been SACKED by the pathetic, spineless losers at the @ECB. Unbelievable."
He also lashed out at new ECB managing director Paul Downton, terming him an 'utter clown'.
"Paul Downtown’s 1st decision has been the worst in English cricket history. What an utter clown.
"KP sacked for being England’s highest run-scorer in all competitions, and highest run-scorer in Ashes debacle. SHAMEFUL.
"What a bunch of utter, cowardly morons."
But Morgan wasn't done yet, he also let his opinion of skipper Cook be known.
"As for you Alastair Cook – what a repulsive little weasel you’ve turned out to be. Aside from worst ever Ashes tour captain," he tweeted.