On the face of it, England have really not missed the services of Kevin Pietersen in the two one-day internationals against the West Indies. Ian Bell has proven a worthy replacement. But cricket cannot afford to ignore Pietersen's reasons for calling time on his international career in limited overs cricket.
"Apart from MS Dhoni, I've played more days of cricket than anyone in the world in the last seven years," Pietersen said. "When you train every day, you fall out of love with the game. I want to play until I'm 35."
Since making his international debut in November 2004, Pietersen has played 86 Test matches, 127 ODIs and 36 Twenty20s for England. He has also turned out for county and IPL teams. After eight years of the grind, he is feeling drained, like many other cricketers who have voiced similar opinions.
Since the advent of T20, the 50-over game seems to be losing its appeal among cricketers. Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi do not play 11-a-side football and then show up for seven or five-a-side versions as well.
Pietersen's decision to opt out has reignited the debate over the future of 50-over cricket. Is there a place for all three formats?
The ICC thinks so and growing attendance for 50-over games supports their argument. There has been no decline in corporate interest or advertising, so there is no imminent danger to that format.
Many more cricketers, though, might face the question Pietersen did: Are they still in love with the game? And more of them might follow his lead.
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