As England's former Hampshire batsman approaches a tipping point in his international career, the Daily Echo traces the peaks and troughs in Pietersen's story so far.
HIGHS DECEMBER 1999: Pietersen comes to England's attention for the first time, playing against them for KwaZulu Natal. Facing future international team-mates and Ashes-winners Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff, a 19-year-old Pietersen bowls 55.5 overs of his then frontline off-spin. Among his four victims are England captains past, present and future Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Vaughan. Pietersen also makes an unbeaten 61 from number nine in the drawn four-day fixture in Durban.
2000: He travels to England, with a view to qualifying to play international cricket here, having become frustrated with the quota selection system in South Africa. A century on trial for Warwickshire 2nds is not enough to win a contract at Edgbaston. But a year later, Pietersen signs for Nottinghamshire.
2004/05: After making his England one-day international debut in Zimbabwe, on the back of prolific form for Nottinghamshire, he announces himself with three centuries in a 4-1 defeat in his native country.
SUMMER 2005: Pietersen is preferred to veteran Graham Thorpe in England's squad for the first Test against Australia. He ends the season by making an Ashes-clinching maiden Test century at The Oval, sparking famous celebrations - including an open-top bus tour of London the next day.
AUGUST 2008: He takes over the captaincy of both Test and one-day international teams, after Vaughan's resignation in the longer format during a home series defeat against South Africa. Pietersen marks his first match as captain, against his native country, with a century at The Oval.
2009/10: England draw a tough Test series in South Africa, where Pietersen has an unremarkable tour - followed by moderate returns for him in Bangladesh. But he is player of the tournament as England win their first ever International Cricket Council silverware, under Paul Collingwood's captaincy, in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
2010/11: A career-best double-hundred in Adelaide is a personal highlight as England retain the Ashes in Australia - their first series win there in a quarter of a century.
SUMMER 2011: Pietersen is part of a prolific batting order as England go to the top of the ICC world Test rankings with a 4-0 trouncing of India.
LOWS 2006/07: Pietersen averages more than 50 as England bid to retain the Ashes but is part of a winter of failure for the team, including a 5-0 trouncing in Australia under Flintoff and then a controversial early exit from the World Cup in the Caribbean - which results, despite two centuries from him, in the end of Duncan Fletcher's tenure as coach.
JANUARY 2009: After a fraught tour of India, interrupted by terrorist attacks on Mumbai, reports emerge of a rift between Pietersen and coach Peter Moores. Both lose their jobs, Pietersen returning to the ranks for the tour of the West Indies as the Andrew Strauss-Andy Flower captain-coach axis takes hold.
SUMMER 2009: Surgery on an Achilles injury rules Pietersen out of the final three Ashes Tests, as England regain the urn on home soil under Strauss.
SUMMER 2010: Pietersen leaves Hampshire, as he did Nottinghamshire seven years earlier, in controversial circumstances. He announces, in colourful language on his Twitter account, that he is dropped for England's ODI series at home to Pakistan - and is to join Surrey. The England and Wales Cricket Board fine him for his outburst.
2010/11: Pietersen is promoted to open in the World Cup, but his campaign is controversially cut short when he announces his hernia pain is too much to bear. In his absence, England are knocked out in a 10-wicket quarter-final defeat by Sri Lanka.
2011/12: A 5-0 ODI whitewash defeat in India follows the publication of Graeme Swann's autobiography, in which the off-spinner contends Pietersen was never cut out to be a captain. After Pietersen's match-winning innings - under stand-in leader Swann in Kolkata - in a one-off Twenty20, the pair share an ultra-awkward press conference.
The world number ones suffer a shock 3-0 Test defeat by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, in which Pietersen can average only 12. But he ends his tour of the desert with back-to-back match-winning hundreds in what prove to be his final two ODIs.
MAY 2012: Pietersen is again fined by ECB for a Twitter faux pas, this time his criticism of Sky commentator Nick Knight. Barely a week later comes the shock announcement that he is to retire, at the age of 31, from all limited-overs international cricket.
JULY 2012: Attempts by Pietersen to broker a deal to play after all in England's defence of their World Twenty20 crown, in Sri Lanka in September, come to nought when a preliminary 30-man squad is announced without his name in the list.
AUGUST 6 2012 - Emboldened by a scintillating 21st Test century in the drawn Headingley Test, Pietersen reveals he can give no assurances that the final match against South Africa at Lord's will not be his last for England.