ECB chairman consigns Kevin Pietersen saga to past under cloud of unanswered questions

ECB chairman and Pietersen refuse to elaborate on the issues which prompted batsman's exile and his eventual apology


It became pretty clear yesterday that Kevin Pietersen had done something wrong. He apologised in public as his employers had demanded and his apology was accepted, which usually means there have been misdeeds afoot.

What was as clear as a Colombo tuk-tuk driver's sense of direction, however, was the precise nature of his transgression. To hear the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, Giles Clarke, who shared a podium, or at least a table, with Pietersen, he might have been a criminal mastermind.

Drawing on all the dignity, not to mention thespian qualities he could muster, Clarke said: "In our society we believe that when an individual transgresses and when the individual concerned recognises that and apologises then it is important that that individual should be given a real opportunity to be reintegrated into our society. This principle is an essential part of having civilised and sensible ethics."

Safe to say that Pietersen is probably just a bloke who did not get along too well with some other blokes in a cricket team. Now he was being given a chance, after a lot of shenanigans, to show that he could get on with them.

By the time Pietersen and Clarke arrived together at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in Colombo they had already spent several hours together at its sister, the Cinnamon Grand, a mile down the road. Pietersen had arrived in the lobby at the Grand dressed in a light grey suit at around 12.30pm and after a few minutes he was escorted upstairs by Clarke's Australian PA, who virtually sprinted to meet him.

It transpired later that this rendezvous was the initial part of a grandly named "process of reintegration" which, if and when it is completed, will mean Pietersen can play for England again. But he will have to get on better with the other blokes than he has been doing.

At 2.50pm a message was received by English journalists, in Colombo to cover the World Twenty20, that there would be a briefing at 4pm. This was what they had been waiting for most of the past six weeks since Pietersen's relationship with the dressing room finally broke down and an exasperated management dropped him.

They arrived gradually in small groups. The briefing was to take place in a room in the basement. There was some chit-chat about what questions might be asked of the pair and that this might be more revealing than any old prepared statements and some moaning about another day when the sale of alcohol was forbidden.

This discussion was curtailed when the England media relations manager, who had to stay on for this after the beaten men's team had been eliminated from the tournament, appeared to announce the procedure. Both Pietersen and Clarke would read out prepared statements and then would take a mere three questions.

Here was the rub. They were also insisting on who would ask the questions. Between them Clarke and Pietersen had decided who they wanted interrogating them. One question went to the man from Sky Television and one each to two newspapers other than this one.

This was annoying but understandable if you were Pietersen or Clarke and wanted to avoid the sort of ferociously unreasonable question which would make water boarding bearable. It was vaguely decided collectively what the two questions would be, though reporters are a pretty disorganised rabble.

At 3.55pm, Pietersen and Clarke strode by. Pietersen was still in his light grey number. He has been seen a lot in suits this past fortnight as part of his duties as pundit on ESPNStar, the host broadcasters at the World Twenty20.

Clarke was dapper in a suit of dark blue silk, material from China, tailored in Bristol. At the appointed time they took their places at a small desk. It had been impossible to think that Pietersen would ever be this close to an English cricket official again.

They read their statements. Clarke went first and if he had not been practising then he is a natural. There were verbal flourishes, intonations, gravitas, drama. He milked the moment. He could have been a judge telling the miscreant alongside him that he was forgiven for his sins.

Pietersen had not a chance next to this. He read the statement all right but it was desultory stuff by comparison. He apologised but there was no fervour in it. This is not to say that he was insincere, just that he was not used to reading prepared statements in public.

"Playing for England is the pinnacle of everyone's career and I want the opportunity to do that again as soon as possible," he said. "Some of the proudest and best moments of my life have been in an England shirt and I want them to continue for as long as possible." He wanted his son to follow him in an England shirt, he said.

The questions came next. And went. Pietersen was asked reasonably how things had gone so wrong.

"Look, I'm here today to talk about going forward," he said. "We've both talked about situations that have gone on and for various reasons I don't want to go into other issues. It's a case of us moving forward and not dwelling on what has gone on. It's a private matter to move forward from here.

Clarke put it another way. "We're not here to talk about archaeology. We've looked at the archaeology and we're moving forward." But did they dig deep enough? That was another unasked question.

There was just time for Pietersen to have his own stab at the moral dilemma of it all. Could it ever be the same again. "I hope so. I really do believe that we have a really good opportunity here for everything to be sorted. We're all human beings. We all make mistakes. I've apologised for them and now it's time to move forward and hopefully have a successful time moving forward."

But what were those mistakes? What had he done, refuse to let Graeme Swann play on the X-box, fail to appear at celebration booze-ups when England win? Just be a pain in the bottom? Nobody was saying. Archaeology is a dead subject.

Strauss calls for honesty and moving on

Andrew Strauss, the former England captain, has called for unity in the wake of Kevin Pietersen's return to the England set-up.

"It's obviously been a difficult situation for everyone really," said Strauss, who stood down at the end of August. "If Andy [Flower, England coach] and Cooky [Alastair Cook, his replacement as captain] and the ECB think the time is right now then obviously we all need to get behind them."

He admitted: "I didn't think it was going to happen this quickly," but added: "Once he's back in the side it's very important that people move on. People have to sit down and be honest with each other, saying how they felt and getting it out of their systems. It's about commitment to England and the principles and standards by which the team operates."

Graham Otway

people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor