“I believe I have a great deal still to give as a cricketer. I will continue to play but deeply regret it won’t be for England,” the 33-year-old South Africa-born batsman said.

Following England’s disastrous tour of Australia and humiliating Ashes whitewash, the ECB feels it is time for change and for a rebuilding process to begin.

“The time is right to rebuild not only the team but also the team ethic,” ECB managing director Paul Downton said. “Clearly this was a tough decision because Kevin has been such an outstanding player for England.

“However, everyone was aware that there was a need to begin the long-term planning after the Australia tour. Therefore we have decided the time is right to look to the future.

“England cricket owes a debt of gratitude to Kevin, who has proved to be one of the most talented and exciting players to ever represent the country and his 13,797 runs are a testimony to his immense skill.”

Pietersen made his England debut in 2004 and is England’s all-time leading run-scorer across all formats.

He was criticised for the manner of his dismissals as England were whitewashed 5-0 in the Ashes and has plenty of scrapes with authority down the years.

Image credit: Getty