Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen celebrates his double century against Australia during the second Ashes Test match in December 2010 Getty

Kevin Pietersen is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen ever to play for England, yet he was also undeniably one of the most controversial.

Prodigiously talented, South African-born Pietersen combined a natural ability with often outrageous showmanship on his way to becoming England's all-time leading run scorer in all formats of the game.

However, he also caused rancour in the dressing room, notably in the winter of 2008/09 when he was stripped of the England captaincy after criticising then-coach Peter Moores.

The 34-year-old has eventually been cast aside following a disappointing Ashes series down under, despite emerging with the second highest batting average of 29.4 runs during the 2013/14 series.

Here IBTimes UK remembers five of Pietersen's greatest innings.

The Oval, v Australia, September 2005 - score 158

The innings that catapulted Pietersen into hero status. After surviving early scares from Brett Lee and Shane Warne, Pietersen responded with drives, hooks and edges in a performance full of bravado that secured the draw England needed to win the Ashes.

The Oval, v South Africa, August 2008 - 100

England had already lost the series to South Africa by the time Pietersen took to the crease in his first test as captain. What followed was a masterclass in handling pressure from a partisan crowd as KP brought up three figures and gave the Barmy Army something to shout about.

Lord's, v India, July 2011 - 202 not out

There was only one man who could rain on Sachin Tendulkar's final test appearance at Lords and it was Pietersen, who swatted the ball around the home of cricket with utter contempt. One of Pietersen's most authorative peformances on home soil and his fifth century at the home of cricket.

Headingley, v South Africa, August 2012 - 149

Against a fierce attack from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, Pietersen asseted control of the innings with commanding and, at times, downright arrogant shots that scattered around a ground he had previously notched a double century. Superlative batting against the country of his birth.

Mumbai, v India, November 2012 - 186

England were in trouble on 69-2 and Pietersen had been in a poor vein of form as he entered the crease in Mumbai. What followed is now regarded as KP's finest-ever innings. Reaching his ton with a typically Pietersen reverse sweep, India's spinners had no answer to Pietersen's audacity.