LONDON: Kevin Pietersen apologised for sending ‘provocative’ text messages to South African players but team officials said it was too soon to say if he had a future as an England player.
Last weekend, star batsman Pietersen was dramatically dropped from the squad for this week’s third and final Test at Lord’s, despite scoring a superb 149 in the drawn second Test at Headingley. Pietersen was axed for failing to reveal the contents of those text messages, some of which were said to contain criticisms of England captain Andrew Strauss.
Pietersen admitted sending ‘what you might call provocative texts to my close friends in the SA team’.
“The texts were meant as banter between close friends,” said Pietersen. “I need to rein myself in sometimes. I apologise to Straussy and the team for the inappropriate remarks at the press conference and for the texts. I truly didn’t mean to cause tension particularly with important games at stake.”
England managing director Hugh Morris said, “We are in receipt of Kevin’s apology but further discussions need to take place to establish whether it is possible to regain the trust and mutual respect required to ensure all parties are able to focus on playing cricket and to maintain the unity of purpose that has served us so well in recent years.”
Focus on the final Test
Morris added they were now focusing on the match and would not make any further comment ‘until such time as is appropriate’.
Strauss, for whom the match will be his 100th Test and 50th as captain, said the selectors had made a ‘brave and correct decision’ to omit Pietersen.
But he added it was impossible to say whether Pietersen would play for England again.
“Who knows what’s going to happen in the future,” said Strauss. “I’m not willing to state one way or another whether it’s going to be possible or impossible.”
England go into the game starting today 1-0 down in the three-match series and need to win if they are to prevent South Africa replacing them as the world’s number one Test side. This match is also set to witness South Africa captain Graeme Smith break Australia great Allan Border’s record of 93 Tests as captain.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2012.