Pietersen hailed as England’s best ever batsman after announcing his retirement

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Kevin Pietersen has been described as the “best batsman ever to play for England” after he ended his cricket career.

The 37-year-old said “ciao” to the sport after deciding not to take part in the Pakistan Super League play-offs.

Pietersen hinted at his long-expected retirement on Friday with a Tweet which simply read “Boots Up! Thank you” before expanding on his situation on Saturday, saying it was “time to move on”.

Kevin Pietersen has retired
Kevin Pietersen has retired (Gareth Copley/PA)

He was a part of four Ashes wins, historic Test series victories in Australia and India and England’s first – and to date only – global white-ball success when they lifted the World T20 in 2010.

Stephen Harmison, a fellow member of the 2005 team that ended England’s 18-year wait for an Ashes success, ranks Pietersen as the country’s best.

Harmison wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations @KP24 on a fantastic career… best player I was fortunate to play with & for me, the best batsman ever to play for England!!”

Fellow team-mates from 13 years ago Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles and Simon Jones also left tributes, as did the likes of West Indies stars Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy.

Vaughan, captain in 2005, added: “Well done @KP24 on an fantastic career … Not everyone’s Cup of Tea but you will do for me … Best Batsman I had the pleasure to play with … 1st England batsman that put fear into the Aussies”.

Flintoff congratulated Pietersen on “an amazing career” and thanked him “for having a positive impact on mine too” while Jones called him the “most talented batter I ever saw”.

Giles, who partnered Pietersen during his vital century against Australia at the Oval as England sealed series victory in 2005, posted: “I was lucky enough to have the best seat in the house to watch one of the best test innings ever that day!”

Pietersen scored 23 hundreds across 104 Test matches and is England’s second-highest run-scorer of all time across all three formats of the game.

“4 Ashes wins. Home & away! T20 WC win.  Beaten India in India.  Home & away 100’s in all major Test nations apart from Bangladesh.

“All dedicated to my family who have just been the most unreal supporters through thick & thin! I’m super proud of everything!

Kevin Pietersen enjoyed an impressive career
Kevin Pietersen enjoyed an impressive career (Sean Dempsey/PA)

In truth, Pietersen has been retired from the biggest stage since his international career ended in 2014.

He embarked on a nomadic T20 career that took in all corners of the globe, but that has come to an end after he helped Quetta Gladiators qualify from the group stages in the Pakistan Super League.

Pietersen, along with team-mates Shane Watson and Jason Roy, will not play in the competition’s next stage, which switches venues from the United Arab Emirates to Pakistan.

An English batsman will help fill the void in the Quetta squad, with the franchise confirming the signing of Yorkshire batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore for their play-off campaign.

Quetta tweeted: “You will be missed @KP24 Great career!! Thank you for everything. Wish you could stayed with us till PSL final but we respect your decision.”

Pietersen will now concentrate on his rhino conversation work.

He wrote on Twitter: “Lots asking what I’m going to do next…I’m going to take the same passion & hard work into trying to save rhinos from extinction. If we all help, it’ll be greater than any of our achievements in any walk of life! Let’s do this, team!”

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