England star Kevin Pietersen on Monday dropped a bombshell by suggesting that the third and final Test against South Africa might be his last.
“I can’t rule out that my next Test may be my last,” he said after winning the man-of-the-match award in the drawn second Test at Headingley after a superb innings of 149, which he followed up by taking three wickets.
Pietersen’s future was a major issue before the series began against the Proteas.
He has already announced his retirement from one-day international cricket – amid speculation he wanted to be available for a full Indian Premier League program, while still representing England, and to play in the World Twenty20 in September.
“That is two of many points,” he said. “But they’re not the main two points. Let’s make that very clear – there are other points I am trying to sort out in the dressing room.
“There are a lot of other issues. It’s absolutely 100 per cent not a money issue. You’ll find out soon enough – not tonight. It will be a lot clearer after the next Test match.”
Pietersen said it would be a “huge shame” if his Test career came to an end.
“I love playing Test cricket for England,” he told reporters. “The saddest part for me is that the spectators just love watching me play and I love playing for England but the politics is what I have to deal with personally.
“It’s tough for me playing for England.”
English captain Andrew Strauss and Pietersen attended separate media conferences.
Strauss said: “I don’t want to comment on what Kevin may or may not have said. I’m happy to talk about how amazingly well he played in this Test match. It was one of the best innings I have seen him play.
“What he may or may not have said is not for me to comment on at this stage.”
On the final day, Stuart Broad took five wickets in 37 balls before South Africa declared at 9-258, leaving England an improbable 253 to win in 39 overs. They made 4-130 before the players agreed to a draw with six overs remaining.
England opened the batting with first-innings hero Pietersen who hit three fours in the first over from Morne Morkel.
But he was caught at mid-on on 12 when he mistimed a drive against Vernon Philander.
Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss tried to keep the scoring rate close to the required rate. But the chase ended after Strauss hit a full toss straight back to off-spinner JP Duminy while on 22, Cook fell to Dale Steyn four short of his half-century and Matt Prior was run out for seven.
Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell batted together for an hour before the players shook hands.
South Africa, gunning for England’s world No.1 Test ranking, are 1-0 up in the series after Monday’s second Test draw. The third Test starts at Lord’s on August 16.