Kevin Peter Pietersen.

The South African Cricket Annual for 2000 commented: ‘The 19-year old Kevin Pietersen came though as a hard-hitting lower order batsman and off-spinner.’

In his four games for Natal he had taken 10 wickets, but scored only 43 runs. Clive Rice signed both Pietersen and Greg Smith for Notts in 2001. Through their family roots both were eligible to appear for the county and not considered as ‘overseas’ cricketers.

Both had outstanding initial summers in England. Pietersen topped the batting averages by a large margin, while Smith achieved the same measure of success in the bowling table. Pietersen was immediately being spoken of as a possible England cricketer as soon as he was qualified – in the autumn of 2004.

In 2002, Pietersen had a poor first half of the year, but then blossomed, runs coming at will. He missed reaching the 1,000 run mark only because injury meant he was absent for the final four games. Although on paper his record for 2003 was impressive the season was not a happy one and conflicts in the dressing room split over into the public domain.

Matters however, were resolved and as the team results proved the atmosphere was much more amicable. Though Pietersen was pipped by Hussey at the top of the batting table, he did more than enough to win a place in the England side which toured Zimbabwe. It therefore came as a disappointment that, his contract with Notts at an end , he declined a new one at Trent Bridge and chose to move to Hampshire for 2005. He then moved onto Surrey in 2010.

His England career has also blossomed as he has scored over 7,000 runs in Tests and 4,000 in ODI's.