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Saturday Mar 17 2018

It’s goodbye from Kevin Pietersen

End of an era: Kevin Pietersen retires from all forms of cricket

One of the most explosive batsmen of his generation, Kevin Pietersen has bid farewell to his cricket career after appearing in his final game for Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Quetta Gladiators on Thursday night.

"BOOTS UP! Thank you!" he tweeted to his fans last night, following it up with a less cryptic post earlier today:

Boots up! Feet up! Family, animals, golf...! H O M E!

A post shared by Kevin Pietersen (@kp24) on

His retirement brings about the end of an era - defined by his bold, entertaining brand of cricket that instilled fear in the hearts of his opponents.

Pietersen, known popularly as 'KP', played his last ever match as a professional cricketer when he featured for Quetta Gladiators against Islamabad United on Thursday, scoring 7 from 6 balls. The highlight of his PSL 3 campaign was a blistering 52 from 34 balls against Karachi Kings.

Although Quetta managed to secure a berth in the playoffs, Pietersen will not be travelling to Pakistan for the knockout games, joining his fellow England cricketers Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales and Jason Roy in opting out of travelling to the country.

Former England teammates including the 2005 Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan paid tribute to Pietersen after the batsman's farewell tweet. 

Former pacer Simon Jones tweeted:

Former bowler Darren Gough also joined in:

Pietersen, 37, leaves the sport as England's second highest run-scorer across all formats of the game combined. In 104 Tests for England, he scored 8,181 runs at an average of 47.28 with 23 centuries and 35 fifties. 

In 136 ODIs, he hit 4,440 runs with nine centuries and 25 half-centuries. He also appeared in 37 T20Is, scoring 1,176 runs with seven half-centuries.

But where he was hailed as one of the most talented cricketers to have graced the cricket pitch, he will also be remembered as one of the most divisive personalities in the sport, with the lowest ebb of his career being his sacking by the England Cricket Board in a dispute following England's 5-0 loss in the 2013-14 Ashes. 

Career highlights 

Ashes 2005: England will forever be indebted to Kevin Pietersen for his dazzling 158 in the fifth and final Oval Test against Australia in 2005 Ashes, where his resilient and bold batting won England the Urn after a long wait of 18 years. 

Ashes 2010 in Australia: Pietersen was a crucial part of the first England side to win an Ashes series in Australia in 24 years. A gruelling 227 in the second Test at Adelaide inspired England's 3-1 win in the series. 

Mumbai and Colombo 2012: Pietersen's 186 in the Mumbai Test against India and 151 against Sri Lanka in Colombo were some of the greatest Test innings ever played by a batsman in the Asian sub-continent. 

World T20 2010: Pietersen was the Man of the Tournament in England's World T20 victory in the Caribbean in 2010 - their first and, to date, the only ICC trophy. The tournament was also memorable for him for another reason: his first child, Dylan, was also born around that time. 

Kevin Pietersen celebrates England's World T20 win

With a colourful cricket career behind him, Pietersen will now be focusing his efforts on a cause he deeply cares about: conservation of rhinos. His dedication to the cause of animal rights is well-documented: his SORAI initiative (Save Our Rhinos Africa/India) is already making the world a better place, one saved rhino at a time. 

He also raised awareness and money for the cause of rhinos by playing with a unique sticker on his bat during English county cricket and Big Bash League last year. 

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