On again, off again: A timeline of the Pietersen saga
May 31, 2012
Kevin Pietersen retires from all international limited-overs cricket with immediate effect because of "the intensity of the international schedule". He remains available for consideration as a Test match player. The news comes four months before England defend their World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka and follows failed negotiations between the England officials and Pietersen during the Lord's Test against West Indies. The sticking point is England's insistence that Pietersen must be available for all ODIs, as required, as well as Twenty20.
June 13, 2012
Pietersen receives support from an unlikely corner: his England team-mate Graeme Swann. "There comes a time when you get towards the end of your career, into your thirties, when something's got to give," Swann says. "You can flog yourself to death and fall to pieces or you can start to be quite wise and make a pragmatic decision. I can understand where he's coming from because there's certainly times I look at a schedule and just think: 'How can I do this? My body's killing me. I haven't seen my kids, my wife is ready to get up and walk out because I'm never here.' We're human beings at the end of the day."
July 13, 2012
After making a scintillating unbeaten 234 for Surrey at Guildford, Pietersen tells ESPNcricinfo that he would "love to play all forms of cricket for England for another three or four years" and reiterated his desire to be included in England's World Twenty20 squad. Pietersen, fresh from meetings with ECB officials, including Hugh Morris, the managing director of English cricket, complains: "I needed to get away from the schedule. I cannot keep playing every single day's cricket. I've never been looked after."
July 15, 2012
Days before England are due to announce their initial squad of 30 for the World Twenty20, England's director of cricket, Andy Flower, offers Pietersen little hope of a way back. "The situation is the same as it was when he first approached us," he says. "The ECB are determined to protect all three formats of the game and part of that is not setting a precedent of allowing players to retire from one-day cricket alone. The intent behind it is that we are serving English cricket in its entirety. We have to take personalities out of the equation."
July 18, 2012
Pietersen, who was Player of the Tournament when England won the World T20 in the Caribbean in 2010 - the only global trophy they have ever won - is omitted from England's provisional 30-man squad for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September. But it is confirmed that players can be brought into the final 15 from outside the squad with good reason.
July 28, 2012
Starved of all forms of England one-day cricket, Pietersen is believed to be considering a deal to play in Australia's Big Bash League, with the Melbourne Renegades and both Sydney sides - the Sixers and the Thunder - contesting his signature. Mike McKenna, Cricket Australia's commercial general manager and the project manager of the BBL, said: "He is definitely one of the top three or four global cricket stars at the moment. He's an explosive batsman, can bowl, and he would bring a charisma to the Big Bash League."
August 4, 2012
Pietersen plays one of Test cricket's greatest attacking innings. An audacious unbeaten 149 against South Africa on the third day of the second Test at Headingley lifts England's spirits. They go on to draw the second Test to stay 1-0 down in the series with one to play. Pietersen becomes the quickest player, in terms of time, to 7000 Test runs.
August 6, 2012
Pietersen is enticed into an extraordinary press conference after the Headingley Test in which he says he cannot give any assurances that the next Test at Lord's won't be his last. "I'd like to carry on but there are obstacles that need to be worked out. There are other points I'm trying to sort out in the dressing room," he says. Implied criticism of his England team-mates attracts heavy criticism in the English media and tips many cricket followers into heated pro and anti Pietersen camps.
August 8, 2012
Another twist in an increasingly unlikely saga as Pietersen is revealed to be upset over a parody Twitter account @KevPietersen24 - which mocks his egotistical style and which he suspects emanates from the England dressing room. Documentation seen by ESPNcricinfo proves that the account is not directly managed by a player. The account is later closed.
August 10, 2012
Another sub-text in a story that is careering out of control. Pietersen's texts to South African players after the Headingley Test hint at his growing isolation in the England dressing room. English newspapers claim that the captain, Andrew Strauss, was criticised, but provide no evidence and South African officials describe the texts as "just banter." But England players and selectors are quick to take offence at any imagined slight.
August 11, 2012
Pietersen goes to the extrordinary lengths of issuing a video interview on YouTube in which he expresses full commitment to England and makes himself available for all three forms of the game. The England selectors respond by delaying the announcement of their squad for the final Test against South Africa at Lord's, due at 9.30am the following day, by five hours.
August 12, 2012
England leave Pietersen out of the squad for the Lord's Test, saying that he had been unable to provide an undertaking that he had not sent text messages to South Africa players that were "derogatery" about people in the England set-up. Hugh Morris, managing director of England, said: "The success of the England team has been built on a unity of purpose and trust."
September 7, 2012
Pietersen is not handed a central contract when the list for 2012-13 is announced. The ECB say "discussions are ongoing".
September 18, 2012
Pietersen is left out of the tour squad for the India Test series and says he is "disappointed" by the decision. It later emerges that a four-month contract had been offered, to include attending a training camp in Dubai, but that was declined. Hugh Morris said: "Both ECB and England team management have had meetings with Kevin Pietersen to address the issues that led to his omission from the final Investec Test match against South Africa."
October 3, 2012
At a press conference in Colombo, where Kevin Pietersen had been working as TV pundit during the World Twenty20, it is announced that he has signed a four-month contract which, if a 'reintegration' process is successful, could be extended to a full 12-month deal. No decision was taken on his place on the India tour with that now to be determined by Andy Flower when Pietersen attends the Dubai training camp. Pietersen said he did not send tactical information to the South Africans and adds: "I am entirely committed to completing the reintegration process we have agreed over the coming weeks and resuming my England career in all formats, hopefully until the World Cup in 2015, or as long as my body allows."
October 18, 2012
Kevin Pietersen is added to England's squad for the Test series in India, following his meetings with England team director Andy Flower, so bringing to an end the extraordinary stand-off.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo