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.


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.