England cricketer Kevin Pietersen finally brought down the curtain on a stellar career that spanned the best part of two decades over the weekend by announcing his retirement.
The statistics speak for themselves: 23 centuries in 104 Tests for England only tell half the story, while he amassed over 30,000 runs across all formats for club and country, including 152 fifties and 68 tons.
And on Monday morning the 37-year-old revealed why he decided now was the right time to walk away from the crease for the final time.
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the 37-year-old admitted he was struggling to make any further improvements to his game and the toils of playing so much cricket were finally starting to catch up with him.
“I've had enough. Twenty overs of fielding feels like playing a Test match so it's time to hang up the boots. I've got better and bigger things to go on to now," Pietersen said, per The Telegraph.
“I've had a wonderful career but I just don't think I've got it in me to keep improving or try to improve.”
Playing across the globe in different formats of the game, be it county cricket in England or Twenty20 in Big Bash or the Indian Premier League, Pietersen was a principal figure in every team he represented.
Despite his differences with the England and Wales Cricket Board during the latter stages of his career, especially since Andrew Strauss became the chief, the South African-born star remained available for national team duties up until the board announced in February 2014 that Pietersen would no longer be considered for selection.
However, the former England ace now has no regrets.
He added: “Being a South African in an English dressing room is occasionally frowned upon but I felt incredibly accepted and I loved my career.
“I didn't mind pressing buttons to try and achieve really good things and to get the best out of people I had to press buttons they didn't like.
“Unfortunately or fortunately that's my character. I strive to be the best I can possibly be and help others be the best they can be and sometimes I rubbed them up the wrong way, I said things they were uncomfortable with.
“It is what it is. I had a pretty cool time doing my job and it really is one of the greatest things calling yourself a professional sportsman.”
On his post-retirement plans, Pietersen revealed he will continue to focus on the animal conservation and his fight to save the rhinos from extinction.
“I think I can do something better now than scoring runs for England," he continued.
“There's a huge issue in the world with trophy hunting...The England issue, yes, that was horrendous for a while but it allowed me to go back to Africa and rekindle my youth, rekindle my love affair with animals...
“It was a horrible time, of course it was. But it's water under the bridge, it's time to move on and I don't look back. I played 100 Test matches for England. If you'd asked me if I would even play first-class cricket or play at Lord's I would have said, 'Shut up'.
“For me it was the most incredible experience, a lucky experience, but now I've got a second chapter which is a lot more important than hitting a cricket ball.”
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