The 33-year-old South African-born right-hander was left out of the one-day party to tour West Indies this month as England look to rebuild following their recent ignominious Ashes defeat. (Agencies)
Coach Andy Flower quit after the calamitous tour of Australia and the axing of Pietersen signalled another bold move to begin a new era for English cricket.
Pietersen scored 8,181 runs in 104 tests, including 23 centuries, and over 4,000 runs in one-day internationals but he always divided opinion, a brilliant stroke-maker who never appeared to fit comfortably into the team environment.
"There's only certain players that you can fear and they're the Pietersens, the (Brian) Laras and Viv Richards," former Australian batsman Damien Martyn said before last year's Ashes series in England.
"In Pietersen you can sense he can win a game in a session - he's dangerous."
Dangerous, but supremely unpredictable, and always an outsider when it came to the team ethic England tried so hard to foster and which took them to the top of the world rankings from 2011-12.
From the regular twitchy starts to his innings to careless dismissals and allegations of intolerance towards less experienced team mates, Pietersen always courted controversy but his ability was rarely questioned.
"He is a big physical presence and a big personality, and those people influence sporting contests," Flower said last year.
He frequently dazzled crowds and opponents with his flamboyant strokeplay, such as the swashbuckling 158 at the Oval in 2005 that helped secure the Ashes.
Pietersen was appointed England captain in 2008 before quitting five months later following the breakdown of his relationship with coach Peter Moores, who was sacked.
The advent of social media only served to bring examples of Pietersen's impetuous nature to the notice of a wider audience.
In 2010, he was fined for a foul-mouthed outburst on Twitter after being left out of the England squad for a series against Pakistan and was punished again in 2012 for using the social media site to criticise a pundit.
He was also dropped for the final test against South Africa at Lord's in 2012 after sending provocative texts to opposing players.
The 33-year-old South African-born right-hander was left out of the one-day party to tour West Indies this month as England look to rebuild following their recent ignominious Ashes defeat.