2019 World Cup star Ben Stokes – who was the biggest reason why England ended its long drought and won the coveted trophy last year -admitted that former English star Kevin Pietersen was the one who changed the outlook of the nation towards limited-overs cricket.

Pietersen – who turns 40 today was a South African-born cricketer who represented England and his life was surrounded by controversies. He was brash and had a style that was not English-like. English cricketers believed more in technique and playing cricket the traditional way.

Till Pietersen’s arrival in 2004, England never gave a lot of emphasis towards ODI cricket, but he changed it all. He played aggressive cricket, despite detractors questioning his technique. He made that style his own and succeeded. His flamboyant style and brazen belief in his abilities seemed to have made all the difference. He was unorthodox and that paid off. He may not have won the WC title for his side, but surely did sow the seed.

In 2005, he was at the top of his game and single-handedly helped England win the Ashes with his audacious strokeplay. He was named man of the match in the final Test, finished an uneven series as top scorer, with 473 runs at 52.55. In the following years, he gave many more box-office performances and was regarded as one of the best ever limited-overs cricketer for England then.

His 186 in Mumbai also helped England beat India for the first time in 28 years. His career finally ended in 2014 after he had long-lasting issues with the board.