With a South African father and an English mother, Kevin Pietersen played for his home club Natal as a boy and made his first professional cricket debut for their B team in the 1997-1998 season.
Kevin Pietersen continued to play for Natal for the next 2 seasons, however a lack of opportunities in the first team caused him to move to England and he signed a professional contract with Nottinghamshire in 2001.
Kevin Pietersen made a huge impression on the team that year with his big hitting and quality fielding. His impressive right hand batting technique earned him an average of 57.95 in his first season of county cricket.
He made his most impressive show of the season at Derby in July, hitting 218 not out in an unbroken sixth wicket partnership of 352 with John Morris. This was after getting a duck in the first innings!
The following year, Kevin Pietersen beat this score at Middlesex with 254 not out.
To play for England Kevin Pietersen had to complete a four-year residency qualification and so in preparation for the first team he went with the England A team to India and in his six innings there he scored three centuries and one half century.
Not surprisingly Pietersen was selected for the full England team as soon as possible and impressed immediately in the ODIs (One Day Internationals) against Zimbabwe and South Africa.
In 2005 after some rumoured 'tension' with his Nottinghamshire team-mates he moved to Hampshire for the start of the new season.
Then the England selectors chose him to be in the 2005 Ashes squad. Pietersen put in an incredible performance - for details read Ben Rosenbaum's analysis: Kevin Pietersen's Ashes.
Wisden named Kevin Pietersen one of the top 5 cricketers in the world in 2005.
Pietersen's form continued and in March 2006 in the second one day international against India his innings of 71 meant that he passed 1,000 career runs in ODIs in just 21st innings, equalling Viv Richards's record.
Kevin Pietersen continued his excellent batting back home. In May 2006 in the first innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka, Pietersen equalled his top score in Test matches of 158.