Ball back in ECB's court as Kevin Pietersen apologises over texts

England batsman finally says sorry for rogue texts while Strauss laments 'airing dirty laundry in public'

Kevin Pietersen last night apologised for sending inappropriate text messages about his captain and coach to England's opponents. If his belated contrition is deemed acceptable by the management the way might be open for the resumption of an international career which looked to have stalled permanently.

But that remains far from certain. The England and Wales Cricket Board said last night that they were still in dialogue with Pietersen. There is also the overwhelming matter of regaining the trust of a dressing room he could be said to have betrayed. Friendship may be out of the question.

The lack of an explanation for the texts, bizarre even in the unfettered world of the social networks, caused Pietersen's dropping from the team for the third Test against South Africa which starts at Lord's tomorrow. During the second Test in Leeds he is reported to have texted South Africa players with comments about Andrew Strauss, the England captain, and Andy Flower, their coach.

Strauss appears to have been taken aback by events. In an interview with Sky Sports screened last night, he said: "I've always got on with Kevin. I've tried to be honest with him, he's been honest with me.

"That's why this has all been a bit of a surprise to me. I think the discontent Kevin had with the board over his contract situation wasn't one that the players got involved in and I didn't if I'm honest.

"But over the last week I have had to get involved because there have been issues a little bit more central to his relationship with other players and our ability to perform in the middle."

Strauss dealt with what has become the nub of the controversy, which began with Pietersen's odd post-match interviews at Leeds when he refused to confirm that the Lord's Test would not be his last and led to the text revelations. The captain's observations indicate that there is no easy way back.

"Frankly, I'm a big believer in not airing dirty laundry in public," Strauss said. "It's one of our core values in our team that what goes on in the dressing room stays in the dressing room. Any time anyone has fallen foul of that they have been disciplined and rightly so. It's about mutual respect and trust and that is a core issue in resolving this."

While it is too late for Pietersen to be restored to action at Lord's tomorrow it is possible that he will be named on Saturday in England's squad for the World Twenty20. But one apology, drawn out as if from a rock face, may yet not be enough to remake a career.

The unusual expression of regret, if that is what it was, is merely the latest turn in one of the most troubling episodes in the history of the England team. Pietersen has already climbed down from a series of demands which had put a severe strain on his relationship with Flower and Strauss. He had sought guarantees about rest and his full-time participation in the Indian Premier League having already retired from all forms of limited-overs cricket because of its requirements. In a complete change of heart on Saturday night, he issued a video in which he renounced his previous stance. "I'm not going anywhere, I love playing for England," he said.

A day later, after declining to deal with the issue of the texts and whether he did or did not suggest to the South Africans how they might dismiss Strauss, he was dropped. The apology, while not wholly confirmed, was mentioned on Five Live last night by the former England captain Alec Stewart and prompted immediate speculation about Pietersen's return. It is too early to be sure of that but the issue is completely overshadowing England's preparations.


Get Adobe Flash player


Related article from London's Evening Standard...

Andrew Strauss has more to think about than his 100th Test


voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
newsJohn Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Bey can do it: Beyoncé re-enacts Rosie the Riveter's pose
newsRosie the Riveter started out as an American wartime poster girl and has become a feminist pin-up. With Beyoncé channeling her look, Gillian Orr tells her story
Life and Style
Donna and Paul Wheatley at their wedding
healthShould emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?

Some couples are allowed emergency hospital weddings, others are denied the right. Kate Hilpern reports on the growing case for a compassionate cutting of the red tape
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit