Kevin Pietersen says ‘Ciao, cricket’ as England player appears to retire

Kevin Pietersen said previously that he did not envisage playing cricket beyond the end of 2018, and would call time on his cricket career. (AFP)
Updated 17 March 2018
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Kevin Pietersen says ‘Ciao, cricket’ as England player appears to retire

LONDON: Kevin Pietersen dropped a strong hint that he has retired after the polarizing former England star decided not to join Quetta Gladiators in Lahore for their Pakistan Super League play-off.
Pietersen helped Quetta qualify from the group stages in the Twenty20 tournament, but with the event now moving from the UAE to Pakistan, he appears to have opted to bring down the curtain on his controversial playing career.
The 37-year-old batsman hinted at his long-expected retirement with a Tweet which simply read “Boots Up! Thank you” before expanding on his situation on Saturday.
“Someone just tweeted to tell me that I scored 30000+ runs including 152 fifty’s & 68 hundreds in my pro career,” he wrote on Instagram.
“4 Ashes wins. Home & away! T20 WC win. Beaten India in India. Home & away 100’s in all major Test nations apart from Bangladesh.
“All dedicated to my family who have just been the most unreal supporters through thick & thin! I’m super proud of everything!
“Thank you for all the quite lovely msgs! I loved entertaining you all! Ciao, cricket! I love this game!“
A post on Quetta’s Twitter feed read: “You will be missed @KP24 Great career!! Thank you for everything. Wish you could stayed with us till PSL final but we respect your decision.”
South Africa-born Pietersen is believed to be ready to move on from cricket as he devotes more time to his conservation work with rhinos.
England’s second-highest run scorer across all three forms of the game, Pietersen won four Ashes series and hit 8,181 runs in 104 Tests.
He has been away from the sport’s top level since his England exile started in 2014 when he was a high-profile casualty of an Ashes thrashing in Australia.
The flamboyant Pietersen’s attitude on the tour was criticized by some within the England camp.
He tried to revive his Test career, hitting an unbeaten 355 for Surrey, but it was not enough to convince the England and Wales Cricket Board to take him back.
He embarked on a nomadic T20 career after that, taking in all corners of the globe.
Pietersen, who had a brief and ill-fated spell as England captain, will be best remembered for his sublime innings of 158 in the fifth Test against Australia at The Oval in 2005.
That heroic effort ensured England got the draw they needed to finally reclaim the Ashes, with he also produced epic knocks of 227 against Australia in Adelaide in 2010 and a brilliant 186 against India in Mumbai in 2012.
Given his often divisive nature, it was fitting that Michael Vaughan, a former England captain, admitted his old international team-mate was a tremendous talent, even if he wasn’t always easy to deal with.
“Well done KP on an fantastic career. Not everyone’s Cup of Tea but you will do for me. Best Batsman I had the pleasure to play with. 1st England batsman that put fear into the Aussies,” Vaughan tweeted.


Kyrgios withdraws from French Open, citing illness

Updated 24 May 2019
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Kyrgios withdraws from French Open, citing illness

  • Roger Federer plays down chances of his winning the mega title

PARIS: After a tantrum in Italy last week, Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the French Open on Friday.

The ATP said the Australian player cited illness as the reason.

Last week at the Italian Open, the 36th-ranked Kyrgios was defaulted and fined during his second-round match after an outburst of rage. Trailing against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud, Kyrgios slammed his racket to the clay and kicked a water bottle. Then he picked up a white chair and flung it onto the court.

Kyrgios was fined and lost ATP points but escaped suspension and was expected to play in Paris.

His withdrawal came only days after Kyrgios posted a video online in which he said the French Open “sucks” when compared to Wimbledon, where he trained recently.

In 2015, Kyrgios insulted Stan Wawrinka with crude remarks during a match in Montreal. He was fined $12,500 and given a suspended 28-day ban. He also attracted criticism for deciding not to play at the Olympics because of a spat with an Australian team official, and for firing back at retired players who have offered advice.

Also on Friday, Roger Federer played down his chances of winning the French Open on his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015, saying that title-winning form might not be “in his racquet.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion missed the French Open in 2016 through injury before sitting out the next two clay-court seasons in order to focus on Wimbledon.

But he will make his Roland Garros return on Sunday with a first-round tie against unheralded Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

Federer admitted that he is unsure of his title chances, but did compare his current situation with when he ended a five-year Grand Slam drought at the Australian Open in 2017.

“(I) don’t know (if I can win the tournament). A bit of a question mark for me. Some ways I feel similar to maybe the Australian Open in ‘17,” the 2009 French Open winner said.

“A bit of the unknown. I feel like I’m playing good tennis, but is it enough against the absolute top guys when it really comes to the crunch? I’m not sure if it’s in my racquet.

“But I hope I can get myself in that position deep down in the tournament against the top guys. But first I need to get there and I know that’s a challenge in itself.”

Despite being the third seed, Federer faces a tricky draw, with a possible quarter-final against Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas — who beat him in the Australian Open last 16 — and a potential last-four clash with 11-time champion and old adversary Rafael Nadal.

Meanwhile, Nadal said on Friday that he “doesn’t care” if he is the red-hot favorite to lift a record-extending 12th French Open title, insisting that there are a host of players in contention for the trophy.

The world number two holds an incredible French Open win-loss record of 86-2, and hit top form by winning his ninth Italian Open last week with a final victory over old rival Novak Djokovic.