Former England captain Kevin Pietersen announced his retirement from professional cricket on this day in 2018.

Pietersen, one of the best batter’s of his generation and among England’s all-time greats, said “ciao” to the sport in an emotional Instagram post at the age of 37.

After confirming he would not take part in the Pakistan Super League play-offs with Quetta Gladiators, he said he was “super proud” of his achievements in the game.

He also paid tribute to his family for being the “most unreal supporters” during his brilliant nine-year England career.

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!”

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, along with success in the shorter format of the game as the explosive batter was 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.

Andrew Strauss was persuaded to return to limited-overs international action and captain England’s tour of the West Indies on this day in 2009.

The England and Wales Cricket Board took the decision to put Strauss in total charge following a week of turmoil, which saw predecessor Kevin Pietersen resign and coach Peter Moores sacked.

Strauss was not a member of the original party to stay on after the four-Test series, having fallen out of favour.

He had last played a one-day game for England in April 2007, against West Indies, in what was Duncan Fletcher’s last match in charge.

But the tumultuous events left the selection panel no straightforward alternative candidates.

The only three men from within the original squad established enough in the side were Pietersen and fellow former captains Andrew Flintoff and Paul Collingwood – both of whom had issues of their own and relinquished the role.

“I am delighted to lead the team in the one-day internationals and Twenty20s,” said Strauss at the time.

“I know I haven’t played an ODI since the end of the World Cup in 2007 but I do feel that I have something to offer in that form of the game.

“Now this situation has been resolved we can now all unite and get about the business of winning cricket matches for England and winning them consistently.”

Strauss announced his retirement from cricket in August 2012 following 100 Test appearances.

He became the ECB’s director of cricket in 2015 – leaving the post after three-and-a-half years – and was knighted in 2019.

In April 2023, it was announced Strauss, who stood in as interim managing director of England men’s cricket between February and May 2022, would leave his roles as strategic adviser to the ECB and chair of the performance cricket committee the following May.

Kevin Pietersen accused England of an “absolutely shambolic” opening day at Lord’s after Australia’s batters took control of the second Ashes Test.

Pietersen, who was given the honour of ringing the bell before the start of play, offered a stinging assessment of England’s efforts with the ball after the tourists reached the close on 339 for five.

Only two late wickets in four balls from part-time spinner Joe Root prevented the end-of-play scorecard looking even worse, Travis Head and Cameron Green both falling to unforced errors.

A scattering of live green grass and overhead clouds that were gloomy enough to warrant floodlights throughout the day appeared to hint at ideal conditions for England’s five-strong seam attack, but it was the tourists who dictated the tone as half-centuries from David Warner (66), Travis Head (77) and Steve Smith (85no) left them well placed.

“Not a lot’s caught my eye from an English perspective, it’s been shambolic. Absolutely shambolic,” the 104-cap veteran told Sky Sports.

“You have overhead conditions, you have wickets that suit your bowlers and you’ve got bowlers running in at 78, 79, 80 miles an hour.

“Now it’s one thing walking here, swanning around, saying ‘this is a wonderful team to play in, we’re creating the best environment’. But this is not Ashes cricket.”

Pietersen also took issue with an apparent lack of edge on the field – just a week on from Australian criticism over Ollie Robinson’s expletive-filled send-off of Usman Khawaja at Edgbaston.

“It’s all too easy, too nice. Are you telling me Ricky Ponting in 2005 is going to be talking to Geraint Jones? You think Michael Vaughan is going to be stood next to Justin Langer saying ‘hey mate, what a cool day, it’s overcast, it’s beautiful, what an awesome day, environment here at Lord’s – what do you think of the wicket’?

“Are you joking? Are you absolutely joking? I just hope they’re in their dressing room now and the England coach is giving them the biggest hammering and saying it’s absolutely not good enough.”

Josh Tongue was the pick of the five English quicks on his first Ashes outing, topping the pace charts and snapping up the wickets of Khawaja and David Warner either side of the lunch break.

The 25-year-old saw his first three overs smacked for 24 but revealed a word of advice from Ollie Robinson about utilising the famous Lord’s slope helped him open his account against Australia.

“I spoke to Robbo just before lunch about trying to use the slope a bit more,” said Tongue.

“I was trying to wobble it away from the bat and he said ‘why don’t you try and get the ball coming back into him’. Getting Khawaja just before lunch was crucial and then, obviously, I was trying to do the same to David.

“He’s a very hard batter to bowl at. If you miss your length you’re going to the boundary, that’s how I felt, so the wicket came at a very good time for the team.”

Invited to rate the Warner dismissal, which skidded between bat and pad and lifted the bails with precision to cap an outstanding over, Tongue added: “I haven’t properly looked back yet, but listening to the lads it was a very good ball.”

Warner opted to shine a light on Head’s performance after the latter hit 14 boundaries to pile the pressure on England in the evening session.

“Trav is Trav, that’s the way he plays,” he said.

“It’s exciting and we’re just lucky he’s on our team. He can take it away from you. Striking at over a hundred is exceptional. He just finds a way.”

England cricketing great Kevin Pietersen has likened the controversial LIV Golf International Series to the formation of the Indian Premier League and hopes golf can soon settle its differences.

Pietersen was no stranger to controversy as a talented multi-format player, with his commitment to England questioned after the inaugural IPL, when lucrative T20 franchise cricket was born.

The South Africa-born batter captained England for just three Tests and 12 ODIs before his resignation and ultimately announced his international retirement in 2012 after scheduling disagreements – only to soon return.

Pietersen reportedly took issue with the strain put on players by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), with their involvement in franchise cricket around the world limited.

The 42-year-old, who suggested English players were jealous of those offered lucrative IPL contracts, spent the latter stages of his career in various domestic leagues, appearing in tournaments across India, Australia, Pakistan and the Caribbean.

Having been bought for a whopping £1.1million by Royal Challengers Bangalore for the second edition of the then-controversial IPL in 2009, Pietersen remains aware of the potential for differences of opinion when it comes to new beginnings in sport.

LIV Golf has come under intense scrutiny, with vocal opponents criticising the Saudi-backed breakaway league, which offers lucrative prize funds that the PGA Tour is yet to compete with.

Ten major champions have defected to LIV Golf, leaving a cloud hanging over the final major of the year, The Open Championship, where the R&A has allowed breakaway players to feature despite their PGA Tour bans.

Pietersen, speaking after playing the Old Course, St Andrews ahead of The 150th Open on Monday, hopes the issues between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour will soon be resolved.

"I don't really have a take on it because it doesn't matter what I think," he said. 

"But having been part of the Indian Premier League and franchise cricket around the world, I think eventually – and I hope – that everything just merges and everybody lives as one happy family in the future.

"Sport is such a unifying thing. It unifies people, it unifies countries, unifies teams, and the ability to make it into something great is important.

"So, I just hope that for the greater good of the sport, things happen in the next few years. Clearly, there was going to be an outcry at the start by certain people in certain countries. 

"But let's hope that in two, three years' time, golf is celebrated for the great game that it is."

Pietersen has been offered the chance to play at St Andrews before the major starts and believes the short distance of the course may offer the injury-hampered Tiger Woods a chance of success.

"These guys are just so special. I mean, they are quite something when they perform to the calibre of performances that we see these kinds of freak shows," he added.

"[Xander] Schauffele comes in with great form, having won three times in the last three weeks or so. Louis [Oosthuizen] as well, he won, and then he got a runner-up.

"I think you come in here with experience and – you can relate it back to cricket – there are certain grounds in the world that you go to [where] you think, 'Okay, I have a real good chance here because I know this place. I love this place and I know how to bat here.'

"So I think, in terms of golf, there will be a few players that say, 'Yep, I know this place. I like this place'. 

"Maybe even Tiger, this is not a hard walk; we walked it yesterday, this is a very easy walk. For him to be able to turn up here, show that dedication and commitment months ago towards this tournament... you never know.

"We played next to him yesterday, and he played in front of us. There's a crazy sound that comes off the back when he hits, it's very special."

Ben Stokes has taken Test cricket by storm with his attacking approach to captaining England, but the all-rounder must value his wicket more.

That is the message from former England batter Kevin Pietersen, who hailed the start Stokes has made as skipper, winning each of his first four Tests.

Stokes and Brendon McCullum have restored interest in the five-day game, with their aggressive intent in the longest format resulting in a series whitewash of New Zealand and victory over India.

In each of those victories, England have chased down scores of more than 275 runs and they saved their best until last with a seven-wicket win over India, completing their highest Test chase of 378 with ease.

Yorkshire duo Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root have been the standout performers for McCullum's side, and Pietersen believes the attitude of Stokes is refreshing for the England set-up and cricket in general.

"They're doing something incredible. The last few run chases, pretty much record-breaking. I have been watching it in astonishment," Pietersen said after playing the Old Course, St Andrews ahead of the 150th Open Championship.

"We were all astonished by Ben Stokes winning the toss and saying, 'we'll chase'. I mean, I'd never heard of that in my life. I was standing with Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain, and we were like, 'did he just say that?'

"No one's ever said that before and, fair play, if you're going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. The wickets have been very good, so they've been able to do that.

"Can you do that in India on day three, day four of a Test match? I'm not so sure but I think these guys are good enough.

"And if they play with that freedom, of spirit and mind, they can achieve some cool things. I'm all in to watch how it goes."

Stokes has courted criticism for embodying England's approach too excessively after somewhat cheap dismissals against New Zealand and India, though, and Pietersen urged for caution from the captain.

"The only thing I do see and want to see is that he does value his wicket a little more than then what I saw in Birmingham, he's too good a player to slog it straight in the air," he added.

"He's too good a player to do that. Just have a look at how Bairstow played has played with freedom of spirit, freedom of mind.

"He accessed all areas of the ground and he puts so much pressure on the opposition. I just think Ben is better than that, and I'm sure he'll accept that, and he'll know that I just want to see him flourishing."

Bairstow has set the benchmark for 'Bazball', an endearing term for McCullum's attacking approach that the New Zealand legend is not too great a fan of.

The 32-year-old scored the second-fastest Test hundred for England at Trent Bridge before reaching three figures in three of his next four innings, the only exception being a rapid 71 not out at Headingley.

His unbeaten 114 against India marked his sixth century of 2022, which is the most by a player while batting at number five or lower in a calendar year and joint-most by an England batter in the same time period (level with Root), and Pietersen backed Bairstow to continue playing freely.

"There's no real pressure because he's not being frowned upon by the powers that be, he is being asked by the senior management to play that way," he continued.

"I think it's a privilege to be able to go out there and just express yourself. The balls up, just give it a smack and everybody says instead of smacking it that hard, I want you to smack it harder – awesome, no pressure."

Former England captain turned cricket analyst Kevin Pietersen has expressed surprise at the decision by Punjab Kings XI to legendary West Indian batsman Chris Gayle out of the line-up on his birthday.

The iconic ball-beater turned 42 on Tuesday but could only watch from the bench as the team fell to a 2 runs loss to Rajasthan Royals.  The West Indian has managed 178 runs in 8 matches, with an average of 25.42.  The average is the fourth-best on the team, but on Tuesday the Kings opted for Aiden Markham at the third place in the line-up, which Gayle has been occupying since last season.

Pietersen admits he found the situation to be an unusual one.

   "There will be some questions asked. I don’t understand why you would leave Chris Gayle out on his birthday,” Pietersen said on Star Sports.

“If there was one game you were going to play him, it was this one. If he failed then you say ‘ok, you can have a bit of rest’. So, I can’t understand the thinking at all," he added.

Gayle has been selected for the West Indies T20 squad for next month’s ICC World T20, the appearance will mark his 7th at the global tournament.

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