Sympathy for the Devil: Kevin Pietersen’s England career timeline
Kevin Pietersen really is the pantomime villain you love to hate, and in the end you can’t help but feel sorry for him. His cricketing career has been riddled with controversy, with the batting star’s ego often clashing with opponents and even teammates, the latter of which has ultimately come back to bite him and seemingly end his decade playing for England.
A feud with fellow South African-born Andrew Strauss over texts sent about the ex-opener clearly has not been forgotten by the recently appointed director of England, whose first act in the role was to announce Pietersen’s continued international exile.
But, no matter how many people he’s angered, he has always performed to the highest standard in the thing does best, playing cricket, and perhaps it was failed management of his ego that was the reason for his latest snub? The world’s best teams in any sport have always had their egos and made it work, so why can’t England when clearly Pietersen is still one of the best in the world?
So, while Coral offer odds of 9/2 for Pietersen to one day play again for England, we have made a timeline of the 34-year-old’s illustrious, yet ill-fated, international career.
2004 – His England career began as it ended, with a fallout. However, this time it was in our favour, as Pietersen went against representing the country of his birth, South Africa, due to being overlooked. In late 2004, he joined Hampshire and became eligible for England after spending three years in the country.
2004 – It didn’t take long until Pietersen was given his England call-up, as he was picked for the 2004/05 ODI tour of Zimbabwe and his homeland South Africa. In the former series, he averaged 104 from his three innings as England won 4-0. While in the latter, in front of an expected hostile crowd, he was named Player of the Series after smashing 454 in five innings, as well as hitting the fastest ever ODI century (in 69 balls) by an England player. The tourists still lost 4-1, though.
2005 – Missed out on the Test squad against Bangladesh, but was picked for the famous 2005 Ashes series against Australia. He wasted little time making his mark, as he hit half-centuries in his first two innings.
2005 – In the nervous Ashes fifth Test, Pietersen kept a cool head and hit 158 as England reclaimed the Urn, also earning Man of the Match. He averaged 52.55 for the series and was the highest run scorer with 473.
2006 – Equals West Indies great Sir Viv Richards’ record of reaching 1000 ODI runs in just 21 innings.
2006 – After hitting a hundred in late 2005 against Pakistan, he managed scores of 158 and 142 against Sri Lanka, thus entering the top 10 of batsmen in the world rankings.
2007 – First real negative in an England shirt, as England were whitewashed 5-0 in Australia. Pietersen was one of the few players for the visitors that shined, though.
2007 – Top scores for England at the World Cup with 444 runs, but his side fail to progress past Super 8 stage.
2007 – Gets first Test double century against West Indies at Headingley.
2008 – Backed by a partisan England crowd, Pietersen hits an emotional century against South Africa at Lord’s.
2008 – Controversy had begun for Pietersen, as he hit two audacious ‘switch-hits’ against New Zealand bowler Scott Styris in an ODI.
2008 – Certainly one of the high points of his career, as Pietersen was chosen to succeed Michael Vaughan as new permanent England Test and ODI captain in August. He won his first Test, incidentally against South Africa, and then guided England to a 4-0 ODI win against the Proteas.
2009 – After a fall-out with coach Peter Moores, Pietersen resigned as captain in January after just five months. Pietersen had the last laugh, though, as Moores was sacked.
2009 – Hits 97 against West Indies in first match following his resignation, under new captain Strauss.
2010 – Silverware success, as Pietersen is named Man of the Tournament in England’s World T20 triumph.
2010 – Pietersen’s highest ever Test score came in the successful 2010 Ashes Down Under, getting 227 to help his side go 1-0 up in an eventual 2-1 win.
2011 – Becomes number one batsmen in Tests after getting another double hundred and then 175, both against India, in a 4-0 thrashing.
2012 – Quits from ODIs and Twenty20s after a fallout with ECB due to his commitments in the lucrative IPL.
2012 – The beginning of the end, as text-gate is revealed, after Pietersen sent messages to opposing South Africa players about skipper Strauss in August. He is subsequently dropped from the Test side.
2012 – Pietersen seemingly realises his error, and declares himself available for all forms of the game again, but is not picked for 2012 World T20 in October. England failed to reclaim their title and looked toothless without the batting star.
2012 – In November, despite reportedly falling out with a number of England’s high profile players, Pietersen is ‘reintegrated’ back into the team, and gives the national side a taste of what they were missing. He almost single handedly turns around a Test series against India, hitting a magnificent 186 and then two 50s as England win the series 2-0.
2013 – Becomes England’s highest scorer in all forms of the game, after hitting a century in the 2013 Ashes, which his side eventually win 3-0.
2014 – Following England’s dismal showing in the Ashes Down Under, which they lost 5-0, Piestersen is dropped after he reportedly fell out with management and teammates again. He is not picked for subsequent ODI tour of the Caribbean or 2014 World T20 so effectively announces an end to his international career.
2014 – Releases an autobiography, in which he is highly critical of a number of former teammates, that are past and present England players, to again all-but confirm that he will never play for them again.
2015 – After some surprise comments from new ECB chairman Colin Groves suggesting that Pietersen’s England career is not over, the 34-year-old turns down a mega contract with IPL outfit Sunrisers Hyderabad in favour of playing for former county club Surrey.
2015 – With Moores being sacked as a result of some terrible England performances, there was suddenly hope that Pietersen could make a comeback against all the odds. He hits a first class career high score of 326 not out, which was enough to gain Strauss’ attention as he went to meet his former teammate. In yet another surprise, Strauss announced that instead of recalling Pietersen to the England side, he said he would not be picked this summer, with the reason being: “This is not about Kevin Pietersen, this is about the future of English cricket.”
2015 – Pietersen went on to finish his innings for Surrey on 355 not out, before not taking any more part in the action, claiming he had a calf injury. It is looking unlikely he will ever play in, let alone for, England again.