Pietersen changed the image of cricket  (©GettyImages)
Pietersen changed the image of cricket (©GettyImages).

Kevin Pietersen: The man who made cricket cool

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The news that Kevin Pietersen will never again play for England has been met by sadness from the majority of the cricketing world.

A consistent performer and serial-winner, it is the latest step from the ECB to rebuild the national team after the disastrous tour of Australia.

Andy Flower has already left, with Ashley Giles in line to replace him, whilst Graeme Swann bowed out of international cricket with England 3-0 down in the Ashes series in December.

But Pietersen will be a bigger gap to fill. This was the man who, back in 2005 where cricket captivated the country like never before, made the sport cool.

Sporting a blonde Mohawk that summer, he thrived with the bat. His century at the Oval, in the fifth and final test where England had their backs against the wall, remains one of the most crucial in the history of English cricket.

So too was his 227 hit at Adelaide in early 2011, where England successfully defended the Ashes on Australian soil.

Idolised, he has never been out of the limelight. This was a batsman who had the respect of bowlers such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Muttiah Muralitharan.

He has been ever-present during the most glittering period of English cricket. Not only has he overseen four Ashes triumphs, but the team’s rise to number one in the world.

Despite a turbulent, brief spell as captain, his popularity amongst the fans has remained intact. Twitter was awash with #BringBackKP last night, but the ECB’s mind has been made up.

For many, it will come too late. Controversy has haunted his career in the national side, with his divisive, disruptive character leading to internal struggles.

The decision to make his feud with Peter Moores public in 2009 led to him losing the captaincy. He was also lucky to remain involved in the England setup after sending derogatory text messages to South African players about Andrew Strauss. He was dropped but then later reintegrated into the side.

It was thought that Flower leaving would mean Pietersen remain in consideration for England. However, the ECB have made it quite clear this is not the case. So it is farewell to the man who made cricket cool.

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