Starting and ending with a bang
Before Kevin Pietersen announced himself on the Test stage in remarkable fashion in the 2005 Ashes, he had emerged even more spectacularly in the ODI series earlier in the year in South Africa. Even as England were crushed 4-1, Pietersen scored three superb centuries and emerged as the highest run-getter in the series. He followed this performance with a brilliant 91 in Bristol to help England snatch an unlikely win against Australia. Since his debut, Pietersen has continued to be a dominant force in limited-overs matches and is one of only seven England batsmen to score over 4,000 runs in ODIs. Among England batsmen, his tally of nine ODI centuries is second only to Marcus Trescothick's 12. Pietersen played only two World Cups (2007 and 2011) but remains the only England batsman to score two World Cup centuries. In the Twenty20 format too, Pietersen proved his class and ended his career as the highest run-scorer for England. In the 2010 World Twenty20, England's first success in global tournaments, Pietersen was the second-highest run-getter and player of the tournament.
Among the seven England batsmen with 4,000-plus ODI runs, Pietersen is comfortably ahead on the average front. He is the only player to average over 40, and is followed by Allan Lamb, who averages 39.61. He also boasts an excellent strike rate of 86.90, the best among all the batsmen in the table. His top-class average and strike rate mean that Pietersen is in an elite group of only 11 players with a 40-plus average and 85-plus strike rate (min 2000 runs). Pietersen scored the majority of his runs batting at No. 4. In 67 innings at No. 4, he scored 2,352 runs at 38.55 with two centuries and 17 fifties. He opened only eight times but was extremely successful at the top of the order. While opening, Pietersen averaged 58.85 and scored two centuries and one half-century. Both these centuries came in consecutive matches in the recent ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE which England won 4-0.
* Stats in the first table exclude the two matches Pietersen played for the ICC World XI
In ODIs, Pietersen has a much better record outside England. At home, he has scored only one century and averages just 32.28. In away matches, however, Pietersen has scored eight centuries and has a much better average (46.98) and a higher strike rate (87.20) than his corresponding numbers at home. He has struggled in Australia, managing an average of just 31.66 with just two half-centuries. A rib injury ended his run in the CB series in 2007 prematurely and on the next tour of Australia in 2011, he lost his way after starting with 78 in Melbourne. Pietersen is England's leading run-getter in India by a distance. He has scored nearly 1,000 runs at an excellent average of 49.21, with a century and seven fifties. In South Africa, where he made a stunning entry in 2005, he has scored 506 runs at an average of 84.33 and a strike rate over 100. He struggled for impact in the 2011 World Cup as an injury forced him out before the quarter-final stage. But in the 2007 tournament in West Indies he did much better, scoring two centuries and three half-centuries, including 100 against West Indies in Barbados to set up England's narrow win.
|In South Africa||10||506||84.33||101.40||3/1|
Between 2009 and 2011, Pietersen had a torrid time in ODIs and managed just three half-centuries in 36 matches. In 2009 and 2010, he played 17 matches and scored just 285 runs at an average of 17.81 and a strike rate of 76.40. This period was in stark contrast to the first two years of his career (2004 and 2005), when he averaged 68.30 with three centuries and five half-centuries. His strike rate in this period (100.40) was also well over his career mark. In 2005, he averaged 76.60 playing for England, with his only failures coming in the two matches where he represented ICC World XI against Australia.
The run of good form continued in the next three years as he consistently averaged over 40 in each year. Pietersen's decision to retire will come as a surprise considering he managed to resurrect his flagging ODI career remarkably. Since the beginning of 2011, he averaged 40.57 with his best performance coming in the recent ODI series against Pakistan. His two centuries (average of 93.66 in the series) helped England salvage some pride after their 3-0 loss in the Tests. During the 12 matches in which he captained England, Pietersen was in top form with the bat and averaged 52.28, with a century and two half-centuries. His stats are fairly even across both innings, with a slightly higher average in the first innings (43.78) as opposed to 39.81 while chasing. In flood-lit games, Pietersen averaged 46.20 at a strike rate 88.89. In contrast, his numbers in day games are lower (average 38.41 and strike rate 84.85).
In the Twenty20 format, Pietersen is one of only two batsmen (Brendon McCullum being the other ) to score over 1000 runs. In the 2010 World Twenty20 in the West Indies, Pietersen was England's in-form batsman. He scored two crucial half-centuries in wins over Pakistan and South Africa before making a vital 47 in the final against Australia. Among batsmen with 700-plus runs in T20 internationals, Pietersen has the highest average (37.93) and the second-highest strike rate (141.51), marginally behind Shahid Afridi. Pietersen, who has seven fifties in T20I matches, is joint second on the list of batsmen with the most fifty-plus scores (McCullum is top with nine).
Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo