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The ECB announced today that England batsman Kevin Pietersen has decided to retire from all international limited overs cricket with immediate effect. Pietersen will remain available to play for his national side as a specialist Test Match player only in the immediate future. The 31-year old has played 127 ODIs and 36 international T20s for England, making his international debut in 2004 against Zimbabwe in Harare. Pietersen has scored 4184 runs at an average of 42 in one-day internationals and averages 38 in international T20 cricket.
Kevin Pietersen commented: "After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I am today announcing my retirement from International One Day Cricket. With the intensity of the international schedule and the increasing demands on my body, approaching 32, I think it is the right time to step aside and let the next generation of players come through to gain experience for the ICC World Cup in 2015. I am immensely proud of my achievements in the One Day game, but still wish to be considered for selection for England in Test cricket."
"For the record, were the selection criteria not in place, I would have readily played for England in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20."
Pietersen, who discussed his position with the ECB during the recent Test against the West Indies at Lord's, accepts that his current contract will continue to run through to September 2012 but that the contract will be downgraded to reflect the fact that he will only be selected for Test match cricket for the remainder of his current contract.
The terms of the central contract state that any player making himself unavailable for either of the one day formats automatically rules himself out of consideration for both formats of the game as planning for both formats is closely linked. This is designed to reflect the importance of one-day international cricket which is a strategic priority as England look for improved performances in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Managing Director England Cricket, Hugh Morris said: "ECB is disappointed by the timing of Kevin's decision less than four months before we defend our ICC World Twenty20 title. Kevin is a world class player and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his efforts and we look forward to his continued contributions to the Test match side.
As the programming and planning for ODI and T20 format cricket are very closely linked we have a selection policy that means that any player making himself unavailable for either of the one day formats, rules himself out of consideration for both formats. The selectors will now replace Kevin in both the ODI and the T20 squads."
Pietersen's decision will come as a huge blow to England's chances of retaining the ICC World T20 title, and one can't help but wonder if the decision is in any way a reaction to being reprimanded by the ECB following his Tweets about former cricketer Nick Knight, who was commentating in the onging Test series.
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