Legendary England batsman Kevin Pietersen has all but confirmed that he will finally opt for retirement from all forms of cricket, once he is done with the Pakistan Super League (PSL 2018). Pietersen posted an emotional message on his Instagram account, along with a picture of the batting great hugging his son. He wrote that while he has spent half of his life saying goodbyes to his family, one of these days he will do it for one last time, hinting that he will soon be ending his playing career. On that note, we take a look at top 5 innings from his career, before Pietersen’s retirement.
Kevin Pietersen’s retirement message
Rumours of Pietersen’s retirement started to make the rounds during his stint with Melbourne Stars at the Big Bash 2018 where KP was seen in the commentary box and said that his body is not able to handle the workload and his time as a professional cricketer could soon come to an end. He posted an official confirmation on his Instagram, writing,
“Countless goodbyes to @jessicalibertyx & my kids as a cricket player & this one this evening is the last one I’ll ever have to do. I’ve hated every goodbye but also known it’s work so just gotten on with it. The journey has been absolutely amazing & for the next 3/4 weeks I’ll be a current professional & then it’s chapter closed! Had my time & loved it but the endless goodbyes & travel needs to calm down now. Cricket has been the best!”
Jessica Taylor confirms Kevin Pietersen’s retirement
While Kevin Pietersen gave the official message of his retirement, his wife also posted on her Instagram account, confirming about Pietersen’s retirement,
“My love’s last ever tour as a player. 12 years together,countless goodbyes that never got easier no matter how many times we had to say them. Tonight is the last time we’ll wave you off laden down with cricket gear. We have loved every second of watching you play and are so incredibly proud of everything you’ve achieved. We love you to the moon and back.”
Pietersen’s retirement to follow Pakistan Super League (PSL 2018)
Kevin Pietersen will be playing for Quetta Gladiators in the PSL 2018 which is most likely to be the last tournament for the 37-year-old batsman. Pietersen played 104 test matches and 134 ODIs for England, scoring 12,603 International runs with 32 centuries (23 test tons and 9 ODI hundreds).
Over the years Pietersen treated his fans with some superb innings which often saw England win key matches against quality oppositions. With Pietersen getting closer to his retirement, we pick out the top 5 innings from his controversial yet glittering playing career.
5). 100* vs South Africa (ODI, February 2005)
Making his mark on the international stage, Kevin Pietersen took the world cricket by storm after scoring 3 ODI centuries in a bilateral ODI series vs South Africa. Although second of those centuries came in a losing cause we have picked that innings of an unbeaten century as one of Kevin Pietersen’s top 5 innings of all-time.
Chasing a target of 312, KP walked in at 117/3 and began to strike the ball all over the field. Pietersen played his naturally attacking game but soon began to run out of partners as England drew closer to the target. In the end, England lost the match by 7 runs but the game will be remembered for Kevin Pietersen’s stunning 69-ball century which included 7 fours and 4 sixes.
4). 186 vs India (Test, November 2012)
Ask any modern-day batsman and they would want to score a match-winning century in India against the crafty spinners on a 3rd or 4th-day wicket of a test match. Kevin Pietersen had a special liking for the Indian attack as he was one of the best players against spin bowling in last decade or so.
Pietersen was at his marvelous best in the 2nd test match of England’s 2012-13 tour of India at Mumbai. Replying to India’s tally of 327, Pietersen stroked 186 runs off just 233 balls at a healthy strike rate of 79 which saw him hit 20 fours and 4 sixes.
Pietersen’s innings allowed England to take an 86-run lead in the first innings and then English spinners rolled India over for just 142 and won the test by 10 wickets. Kevin Pietersen was rightly named Man of the Match for his game-changing innings of 186.
3). 202* vs India (Test, July 2011)
Once again it was India at the receiving end of Pietersen’s masterclass where he smashed an unbeaten inning of 202 at Lords and guided England to a massive 196-run win. Pietersen’s innings came at a strike rate of 61 and included 22 boundaries.
One of the biggest fortes of Pietersen’s batting was his ability to score at a rapid rate which allowed England to declare their 1st innings at Lords and then attack the Indian batsmen. Pietersen’s double centuries were always deciding factor for England and this particular inning against India at Lords has to be one Kevin Pietersen’s best innings of all-time.
2). 227 vs Australia (Test, December 2010)
Talk about coming good against your arch rivals and Kevin Pietersen had a knack of playing his best cricket against the Aussies. Perhaps KP’s finest double century came in the 4th test match of the 2010-11 Ashes series at the Adelaide Oval.
Australia were bundled out for 245 in their first innings and when it came to England’s batting Kevin Pietersen smashed 33 fours and a six in his innings of 227 which came off just 308 deliveries.
England declared their first innings after a massive 1st innings lead and ended up winning the match by an innings and 71 runs. Pietersen rates this innings as one of his all-time best and we certainly aren’t debating his selection at all.
1). 158* vs Australia (Test, September 2005)
Kevin Pietersen was still an unknown figure at the 2005 Ashes series where England played out of their skins to take a 2-1 lead going into the 5th test match at the Oval. England had to avoid the defeat to win the Ashes after a long time.
Pietersen and England were struggling at 199/7 in the 2nd innings and then we all witnessed the true greatness of Kevin Pietersen as he began to take the attack to the Aussies and left the likes of Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne speechless as he breezed to an innings of 158 of just 184 balls at a strike rate of 84.
Pietersen’s heroics saw England avoid defeat in the 5th test and win the Ashes after a gap of 26 years. That series and in particular that innings made Kevin Pietersen an instant hero among the English fans and although we saw many instances later on where Pietersen was in and out of the national team but his batting ability always had fans glued to their screens and these 5 innings were the finest innings of his career which spanned over 13 years.
It cannot be said in clearer words, what an impact Kevin Pietersen has had on cricket. The former England captain has been the pillar of his country’s cricket team so often, that his name has become synonymous with England. As Pietersen’s retirement approaches, one can’t help but ponder over the golden moments, that the great 6 feet 4 inches tall former England captain had been a part of.