LONDON, July 16: South Africa captain Graeme Smith believes England batsman Kevin Pietersen's retirement from international limited-overs cricket will leave “a big hole in his life”.

South Africa-born Pietersen quit white ball internationals after team management refused him his wish to appear in Twenty20 matches while opting out of 50-over games.

“It's impossible to know what you're giving up, and how hard it will hit you, until it's gone,” Smith, who has had plenty of run-ins with Pietersen in the past, told online magazine Wisden EXTRA on Monday.

“One-day cricket has been a big part of his life for a very long time and, right now, he thinks he can just walk away from it.

“Maybe he can. But I think he'll quickly find there's a big hole in his life which isn't as easy to cope with as he may think.

Pietersen suggested last week he would be willing to come back to one-dayers if something could be done about making sure he wasn't burnt out by England's packed schedule.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are holding firm to their stance that players cannot “pick and choose” which limited overs matches they play in.

Smith added: “I don't have any inside information at all, so I'm just looking from the outside, but if there's any truth that his decision was partly based on the disagreements he had with the ECB and the way they treated him, then I believe he'll find it even harder to come to terms with the way his one-day career has ended.”—AFP

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