No easy way back for KP, admits 'let down' Strauss

 

The divisions in the England cricket team were laid bare yesterday and the battle lines were clear: Kevin Pietersen versus the rest.

On a tumultuous day at Lord's, where England were supposed to be preparing for a Test match to try to retain their No1 status, it became clear that there will be no easy way back for their star batsman.

The earliest he can realistically expect a recall is for the Test tour of India which begins in late October.

Pietersen's formal apology to the team captain, Andrew Strauss, and the rest of the team, was received stiffly by the England and Wales Cricket Board. It is quite simply a matter of trust and England at present do not trust him.

Strauss said: "I feel a little bit let down by Kevin if I'm honest but this isn't an issue between me and Kevin. It's a broader issue and it's very important that I act in the best interests of the England cricket team.

"It's not a personal thing. I've always got on very well with Kevin, which is why some of the stuff has been quite surprising. We have to move on, and look at everything but we will do that after the Test."

A personal matter between captain and player it may not be but it is personal between Pietersen and everybody else. The texts he sent to South Africa players apparently deriding Strauss and coach, Andy Flower, were merely the tipping point.

Contract negotiations that he and his advisors have been conducting for months have had a sapping effect on the England management if not the players. When Pietersen failed to deal with the texts issue last weekend, he was dropped. Yesterday's statement, though hardly effusive, said: "I did send what you might call provocative texts to my close friends in the South Africa team. The texts were meant as banter. 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 upset or tension particularly with important games at stake."

Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, said: "Further discussions need to take place to establish whether it is possible to regain the trust and mutual respect required." South Africa captain Smith could not conceal his astonishment: "I find it quite amazing that it's still going on and that it has reached this point. It's just been so overboard."

"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 upset or tension. The texts were meant as banter between close friends. I need to rein myself in sometimes." Kevin Pietersen

"A successful conclusion to the process was in everyone's best interests. Further discussions are needed to establish whether it is possible to regain the trust and mutual respect required." Hugh Morris (England MD)

"Adversity can bring you closer together. We have seen that before with us on a number of occasions. That is going to be the test of us this week. This is a great opportunity for us to show some strength and resolve." Andrew Strauss

"I find it quite amazing that it's still going on and that it has reached this point. In our dressing room it's something that's hardly been discussed – except the amount of time and coverage that it's getting." Graeme Smith, above

Who said what...

Comments