ECB apologise to South Africa in relation to Kevin Pietersen text claims


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The Independent Online

Cricket South Africa and the national team's players have accepted an apology from England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier over comments he made concerning the Kevin Pietersen text row.

The ECB have issued a statement pointing out they do not agree with CSA about the sequence of events in the row, but that an apology from Collier for his remarks has been accepted.

Collier had said that South African players had "provoked" the text-message exchange which led to Pietersen's exclusion from the England team this summer.

CSA and the South African Cricketers' Association had been angered by Collier's comments, which came as the ECB announced a healing of their rift with Pietersen.

The ECB statement read: "CSA and ECB have discussed the events which led to Kevin Pietersen's non-selection for the third Test.

"Cricket South Africa has made clear to ECB that the electronic messages were not part of any initiative or plan to undermine the England team or players.

"ECB has unreservedly accepted that assurance and wishes to reiterate that it has no issue at all with CSA - or the Proteas players - on this matter and appreciates that the South African and England players follow the highest ethical standards of behaviour.

"Although the two boards do not agree on the sequence of events regarding any responses to messages between Kevin Pietersen and certain Proteas players, CSA and SACA accept Mr Collier's apology based upon his earlier utterances that the team may have acted in a way which was underhand.

"Both CSA and ECB regard this matter as now closed and will not comment on the confidential information shared in discussion between the boards."

The ECB will hope the statement draws a line under the saga which has overshadowed their year.

Pietersen was dropped for the final Test between the two countries at Lord's in August and overlooked for the World Twenty20 following allegations he sent messages to Proteas players criticising then England captain Andrew Strauss.

After a stand-off period, 32-year-old Pietersen apologised for sending the messages earlier this month and signed a new ECB central contract after agreeing to enter a "re-integration" process with the team.

That might have been the end of the matter but for comments in a radio interview by Collier, in which he said Pietersen's messages were replies to ones received from South African players.

He claimed the tourists had a tactic of trying to deliberately provoke Pietersen.

The ECB have now sought to make clear they do not believe any underhand tactics were employed by the South Africans.