Andrew Strauss, the former England captain, has spoken of his sadness at the way his three years in charge of the side ended and expressed real doubt that Kevin Pietersen can be reintergrated into the side.
Speaking to The Guardian, Strauss, who retired from cricket in August, also admitted that he was surprised at the way the row involving Pietersen's texts to the South Africa team blew up during the summer Test series.
"We knew that Kevin was having issues about the IPL [Indian Premier League]," Strauss said. "He retired from one-day cricket and didn't seem happy because it was clear that he was keen to commit to the IPL. But as players we were outside of that. So when it came to a head we were all quite surprised."
"Nine-tenths of my time as England captain I found him a good guy to have in my team. He set the right example in practice and I felt he could have been far more resentful of me in the sense that he had been removed as captain before I took over. But he just got on with his job and our relationship was pretty good - which is why it was so surprising and baffling when I heard what had been going on. In the preceding months he had not given me any hint of what he thought about me.
"I don't think anyone got to the bottom of the text messaging saga. But Kevin has since come up to me and apologised for it and I respect that. He seemed contrite and I think he was sincere."
However Strauss is under no illusions about how hard it will be to bring Pietersen back into the England dressing room for the upcoming tour of India.
"It will be difficult. One of the problems is that there are two separate sections. One is going on in meeting rooms between KP and the players and on the other side is this media intrigue. From Andy [Flower]'s point of view, they need to get that first part right. If everyone is happy in the dressing room they will play well. But if it's not resolved then it is a problem. I honestly think it's a real problem.
"Everyone has to desperately want it to happen and they all need to let bygones be bygones and not have any grudges and bitterness. Everyone has to want to move forward for the right reasons. That's the question mark . But it saddens me that we've been through this - after all the hard work we put in as a group."
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