UK & World News
Kevin Pietersen Dropped From England Team
Cricketer Kevin Pietersen has been dropped from the England team, ending his international career.
The 33-year-old, regarded as one of the most talented and exciting players ever to represent the country, was told by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that he had not been included in the England squads for the forthcoming tour of the Caribbean later this month, nor the World Twenty20 to be held in Bangladesh in March.
During an international career that spanned almost a decade, Pietersen played 104 Test Matches, 136 One Day internationals and 37 Twenty20 Internationals for England. In total he scored 13,797 runs.
His departure comes after England coach Andy Flower also left his job following the team's Ashes whitewash in Australia.
Pietersen met Paul Downton, managing director of England cricket, this week and was told that the unanimous decision of the management, including the selectors, had been that now was the time to start the rebuilding process after England's disastrous performance.
In a statement, Pietersen said: "Playing cricket for my country has been an honour.
"Every time I pulled on the England shirt was a moment of huge pride for me and that is something that will live with me forever.
"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.
"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 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 run scorer in international cricket demonstrates.
"However, everyone was aware that there was a need to begin the long-term planning after the Australia tour.
But TV presenter and cricket fan Piers Morgan told Sky News that Pietersen had been made a scapegoat.
"He's just been the highest run scorer in Australia during a debacle of a series, and he is the scapegoat chosen by the ECB clowns as I put them, and the weaselly captain Alastair Cook, who had a catastrophe himself. He's the guy they have singled out for blame.
"The whole thing is completely crackers."
However, former England captain Bob Willis said Pietersen had been disruptive "all the way along the line".
"In the big team England ethic, it's very important for everybody to be pulling in the right direction," he told Sky News.
Sky News Sports Correspondent Paul Kelso said: "Pietersen is the most gifted cricketer of his generation, but also the most divisive.
"And after a disastrous Ashes tour marked by disruption in the dressing room, he's paid the price for England's failure.
"Perhaps only in England could the answer to the worst defeat in history be to sack your best player."
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