Pietersen is arguably the most talented English player of the modern era. Simply by looking at his statistics it's clear to see that he was on the way to smashing the record book and becoming an England legend. However, look past the statistics and some would say you'd find an enigmatic talent, unwilling to adapt his game or listen to authority.
Getting thrashed is something. Getting thrashed and learning and changing nothing is unforgivable. So what lessons can we take from England's 5-0 drubbing down under..
Two of my favourite speeches come from the late 11th Century. They read as match reports for England's disastrous Ashes performance; they offer some clues and advice for the beleagured captain, Alastair Cook.
Yet for England, a perfect occasion for experimentation with a view to the future presents itself in the summer of 2014 with the decidedly less intimidating task of a home test series against a depleted Sri Lankan side. The point should be made clearly: badly needed is reform and refinement, not revolution.
As one of England's finest bowlers, Swann's sudden departure dramatically altered what was left of England's morale, leaving captain Alastair Cook under severe pressure to map out England's plan b.
Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes has provided a rare glimmer of optimism on England's calamitous current Ashes tour. Whereas the established players have failed, this 22 year old, who was not in the side at the start of the series, has now scored England's only century thus far...
How on earth have the Australians - defeated 3-0 only a few months ago - reversed the impetus from that series to such an extent that England's players now genuinely appear helpless?
Most cricketing commentators have been at pains to say Jonathan Trott's stress-related illness is due to the general pressures of the game and not this particular Ashes series. They doth protest too much. For the nagging, unspoken concern is that Australia's relentless psychological war on the touring side has already taken a toll.
This kind of drubbing shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone though. England start tours abysmally - India, New Zealand, The UAE and Sri-Lanka, all resulted in collapses and losses or narrow escapes. Even the 2010 opening sortie of the Australian leg of the Ashes started badly.
Being English, whether you are a child or an adult, male or female, you must feel immensely proud of our cricket team. Obviously, if you don't follow cricket, or don't have a clue what I'm talking about, you're exempt.
As we bid farewell to them, the 18 months that these four men spent sweeping aside all before them will live long in the memory. This standard of cricket in this summer's Ashes series had nothing on the five act Greek comedy/tragedy (depending on which hemisphere you come from) that 2005 served up...
Bigger is better, at least in the minds of the England selectors. The squad for the return Ashes trip this winter - or their summer - includes four towering seam bowlers in Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett and the as-yet-uncapped Irishman Boyd Rankin.
Sam, Thomas and I have just returned from a week's holiday on a farm in Cornwall. It was a big step for all of us. Dunc and I had booked it in January, in a moment of being unusually organised. When he died in April this year, I quickly realised that the holiday was looming.
To be sure, scandal has always been with us. The annals of British history are littered with the names of great national hellraisers, from Vinnie Jones to Gazza and beyond. However, there is a difference. Recent distasteful behaviour in sport, whether it be the English rugby team tossing midgets, or the bout of al fresco relief with which I began this article, betrays cultural problems, not individual misdemeanours...
It ended, not with a match-saving century or a game-winning delivery, but with bad light casting a shadow over the 2013 Ashes. However, the two sides are a lot closer than the scoreline would have you believe, as reflected in the following combined XI of the teams' best players...
It would be wrong to suggest that old is the new young. The likes of Agar and Root will return stronger for their difficulties in this series, and have every chance of playing a central role in the return series Down Under this winter. But those who derided Australia for calling up a 35-year-old must now retract their scorn.