Sharjah: The UAE leg of the Pakistan Super League will be remembered for the last match of one of the world’s finest batsman — Kevin Pietersen.
On Thursday he played the last match of his cricketing career for Quetta Gladiators.
His fans, who adoringly call him KP, had hoped that Quetta may play again in Dubai by finishing first or second in the table.
Unfortunately, Quetta finished fourth and will play their eliminator match in Lahore on Tuesday. Pietersen had earlier announced that he will not fly to Pakistan.
Pietersen had hit a half-century against Karachi Kings in this PSL to prove that he is still a tough player to dismiss.
Leaving behind memories of some of the finest knocks in world cricket, he has finally hung his boots.
In fact, as soon as Friday’s match ended in Sharjah, he posted a selfie of him with his legs up and cap on his knees saying: “Boots up! Feet up! Family, animals, golf ...! H O M E!,”
During his last press conference as a player, following his match-winning knock of 48 off 34 balls studded with three towering sixes and four boundaries to defeat Islamabad United by six wickets, when Gulf News asked him whether he would reconsider his retirement, he had retorted asking: “Do you want me to?”
He went on to say: “I had 20 years of professional cricket but no major injuries and have been very lucky. So a lot of people say you must leave when you are on top and if I can keep performing like I did this evening then I could do it.”
However in his last innings for Quetta, he scored just seven runs and since many thought he may play again, fans as well as players, did not give him a standing ovation.
Thirty-seven-year-old Pietersen thus walks away as the second-highest run getter across all formats of the game for England.
From 104 Tests he had piled up 8,181 runs with 23 centuries and 35 fifties.
He also hit up 4,440 runs with nine centuries and 25 half-centuries and from his 37 T20Is, he scored 1,176 runs with seven half-centuries.
Through a video message, Pietersen also announced his decision of why he is not flying to Pakistan and appealed to his fans to respect his decision.
“It’s with a very sorry heart that I have to leave Dubai and go back to London now. I wish I could travel (to Pakistan), but unfortunately (it’s my) family’s decision, and (my family) is important to me.
"I hope you can respect my decision and my family’s decision not to travel (to Pakistan),” he said.
Pietersen then conveyed his best wishes to Quetta Gladiators saying: “We have an opportunity to win. We really do. We are still in this competition.
"So please support the Purple Team. I will keep supporting the Purple Team. Third time lucky, remember!” The Purple Team will do it, hopefully. Inshallah!” he said.