Kevin Pietersen's international career was brought to a sensational end last night.
n an exit almost as spectacular as some of his great innings, he was told he was no longer wanted by England after their ill-fated tour of Australia.
It was made clear, in a statement which did not remotely go to the heart of the issue, that the man who has scored more runs for England than any other cricketer will not play again either in Test matches, one-day internationals or the Twenty20 format.
The severance had to take place now because England's squad for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh is being announced tomorrow.
Pietersen (below) was told yesterday that he would not feature in that, in the tour to the West Indies which precedes it or, indeed, in international cricket again. Tellingly, the decision to sack him – and that is what this is – was unanimous among the management and the selectors.
It demonstrates that Pietersen, who again became isolated from the rest of the dressing room this winter, had run out of allies. He met Paul Downton, the new managing director of England cricket, and was told that now was the time to start the rebuilding of the team after the disastrous tour of Australia.
Downton, who is in his first week in the job, said: "Clearly, this was a tough decision because Kevin has been such an outstanding player for England as the fact that he is the country's leading runscorer in international cricket demonstrates.
"However, everyone was aware that there was a need to begin the long-term planning after the Australia tour. Therefore we have decided the time is right to look to the future and start to rebuild not only the team but also team ethic and philosophy."
The last phrase of that part of the statement is the one that counts. England in general and the captain, Alastair Cook, in particular were simply not willing to put up with Pietersen's disruptive influence any longer.
"Although I am obviously very sad the incredible journey has come to an end, I'm also hugely proud of what we, as a team, have achieved over the past nine years," said Pietersen. I believe I have a great deal still to give as a cricketer. I will continue to play, but deeply regret that it won't be for England."
Downton, who is clearly unafraid to take tough decisions, said: "This decision brings some clarity now for the future of the England teams and we all wish Kevin the very best in the rest of his career." (© Independent News Service)