England batsman Kevin Pietersen is to leave Hampshire at the end of the 2010 season, the club has confirmed, with Pietersen keen to settle his family in London.
Pietersen, who moved to Hampshire in 2005 from Nottinghamshire, made 26 appearances for The Rose Bowl club but after the birth of his first child earlier this year, he feels he needs to be closer to his wife and child in London.
“I have not had much opportunity to play for Hampshire but I want to thank the players, staff, Chairman and fans, for the support I have had during my time at The Rose Bowl. Hampshire is a great club and I wish them well for the future," Pietersen said in a statement.
Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove added: "Given England's critical dependence on KP in all forms of cricket, we have not seen anything like as much of him as we would have liked over the past 6 years.
“He remains, however, a fantastic player and we wish him continued success wherever he plays and, in particular, we wish him, Jessica and Dylan every happiness."
Since moving to Hampshire in 2005, the year in which he went on to cement his place in all three forms of the game for England, Pietersen played seven first-class matches, 17 one-day games and two Twenty20 matches, last playing for them against Surrey in the Friends Provident t20 at The Rose Bowl last week.
If Pietersen is to join a club with close links to London, Surrey and Middlesex would be the most obvious candidates for his signature, although both Kent (who play matches at Beckenham) and Essex (who have expressed an interest in playing T20 cricket at the Olympic Stadium in London) could also be in the frame.
Pietersen scored 1,233 runs in all competitions for Hampshire with three Championship centuries, which came against Kent and Glamorgan in 2005, and finally Somerset in 2008.
Pietersen also plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, captaining them after he was picked up for a fee of $US 1.55 million in an auction ahead of the 2009 season.
He has represented England in 62 Tests, 96 One-Day Internationals and 28 Twenty20 Internationals while also featuring for the ICC World XI in two ODIs against Australia in October 2005.
© Cricket World 2010