Pietersen opts for Tests over shorter game

ENGLAND batsman Kevin Pietersen has revealed a desire to prolong his Test career was the motivation behind his retirement from one-day and Twenty20 international cricket.

Pietersen, 31, yesterday announced he no longer wishes to compete in international limited-overs cricket and believes his decision to do so will ultimately ensure his long-term Test availability, though he ideally would have chosen to remain available for this year’s ICC World Twenty20.

“After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I am announcing my retirement from international one-day cricket,” said Pietersen. “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 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.”

The England and Wales cricket board dictate that players cannot pick and choose between one-day international and Twenty20 cricket and means that any player like Pietersen that wishes to stop competing in one format must also give up the other.

England Cricket’s managing director Hugh Morris, however, admits that with the Twenty20 tournament, scheduled to start on 18 September in Sri Lanka, nearing, Pietersen’s decision comes as a blow.

“The England and Wales Cricket Board 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 thank him for his efforts and look forward to his continued contributions to the Test match side.

“[But] as the programming and planning for ODI and T20 format cricket are very closely linked any player making himself unavailable for either of the one-day formats rules himself out of consideration for both formats.”