Former England captain Kevin Pietersen said “ciao” to professional cricket on this day in 2018.
Pietersen confirmed his retirement in an emotional Instagram post after deciding not to take part in the Pakistan Super League play-offs.
The 37-year-old batter insisted he was “super proud” of his achievements in the game and paid tribute to his family for being the “most unreal supporters” during a career that saw him represent England with distinction for nine years.
It was during the 2005 Ashes where Pietersen rose to prominence after he played a starring role in a 2-1 win over Australia with a maiden Test century in the final fixture of a pulsating series at the Oval.
Further Ashes wins would follow and success in the shorter format of the game with the explosive batter named player of the tournament in England’s maiden T20 World Cup win in 2010.
Overall, Pietersen scored 23 centuries in 104 Tests while he hit a further 5,616 runs in limited-overs cricket for England in 173 matches, but his international career ended abruptly and was not without controversy.
Pietersen was a casualty of the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia where England were thrashed 5-0 and 18 months earlier had been involved in a texting scandal during a series against South Africa, the country of his birth.
The latter years of the Pietermaritzburg-born maverick’s career were spent on the T20 circuit and occasionally producing notable innings for domestic outfit Surrey.
He struck his highest first-class score of 355 not out in 2015 but it failed to convince former team-mate and then England director of cricket Andrew Strauss to recall Pietersen, who bowed out playing for Quetta Gladiators in the PSL.
Pietersen, who had been quite publicly edging closer to retirement over previous months, wrote on Instagram: “Thank you for all the quite lovely msgs! I loved entertaining you all! Ciao, cricket! I love this game!”