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The maverick called Kevin Pietersen

“Boots up! Thank you!” – that is how one of controversy’s favorite children – Kevin Pietersen announced his retirement from professional cricket. Weird hairstyles, flamingo shots, outrageous switch hits, a memorable test debut and a not so memorable ouster from the England cricket team – his career has seen it all! At the end of the day, it would be fair to say though, that he retires as one of the modern-day legends!

There was no doubt about the fact that KP was a maverick! He could manufacture shots on his day and make world class bowlers look ordinary. He could barely take a catch when he came into test cricket and he would probably be relieved that he won’t have to worry about that aspect of the game anymore!

KP has given cricket fans many reasons to cheer. The first and probably the most coveted being his first test hundred. In the decisive fifth test of the 2005 Ashes series, KP took on the world class bowling attack of the Australians and scored a memorable hundred in what remains one of the best Ashes series’ in recent times. That knock announced his arrival to the big stage!

Another one of his memorable knocks would be the 110 not out he scored against New Zealand in June 2008. It was an innings which saw him bring out the switch hit against Scott Styris. And while experts were confused as to whether they should appreciate the sheer genius of KP or question the legality of the shot, he continued to pull that shot off with nonchalant ease.

His captaincy stint for England may not have lasted longer but his value to the team as a player was highlighted once more in the 2010 World T20 where he scored 248 runs at an average of 62 and a strike rate of 137.7. He was named player of the series in that tournament and it remains England’s only silverware in ICC tournaments till date.

A premature end to his England career meant that he was left with no choice but to go freelance in T20 cricket. He continued to ply his trade in various T20 leagues around the world and probably enjoyed his time at the Melbourne Stars, in the Big Bash League, the most! He doubled up as a player-commentator and was an absolute joy to listen to. Although he became a T20 professional, he kept on stressing the fact that it was test cricket which separates men from the boys!

KP gave his fans plenty of reasons to love him, one of which was his free-spirited nature. He was a no-nonsense guy who was always vocal about his opinions. As he shifts his focus more into rhino conservation work, one would hope that he gets some time to do the odd commentary stint for his fans!

Thank you KP!