ECB claims that South African players provoked Kevin Pietersen to send texts are 'absolute rubbish'


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The Independent Online

Cricket South Africa has dismissed a claim made by England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier that South African players provoked Kevin Pietersen to send inflammatory text messages as “absolute rubbish”. 

It took until last week for Pietersen and the ECB to jointly agree a process for his return to the England set-up after he was excluded following a series of "provocative" messages he sent to Proteas players during the second Investec Test at Headingley this summer.

Collier told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme on Sunday that Pietersen was replying to Blackberry Messenger messages sent by the opposition and that the South Africans had a "definite policy" to antagonise him.

"This is absolute rubbish," CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul said.

"What is particularly disappointing is that I had a face-to-face meeting with Mr Collier when I was in London for the Lord's Test match.

"He did not raise this allegation with me then and I would have thought as a matter of courtesy and decency he would have spoken to me about it before going public in the media.

"It is not the way CSA goes about its business and it is not the way the ECB has done business with us in the past either. It is very disappointing because in the past our relationships with the ECB have always been cordial and constructive.

"This (the Pietersen affair) is an internal ECB matter in which we do not wish to be involved. It served as a distraction to our players that we did not need during the Test series."

Collier did not hold back in his criticism of the South Africans, believing the texts were used as a way to gain an advantage on England.

"It is a very thin line between fair and unfair," Collier said.

"These (messages from Pietersen) were responses to messages from certain members of the South Africa team and I would not condone an England player doing it if it was the other way around, and I certainly think they (South Africa) provoked the situation.

"I think there was a tactic which was used. I think that is sadly some of the ways of modern sport but as I say we have plenty of people who are strong in the dressing room who provide very good leadership who can deal with those situations."

The manager of the South Africa cricket team, Mohammed Moosajee, denied that his players provoked Pietersen and described the allegations made by Collier as "irresponsible".

"For them to turn around and get our players involved is really, really unfair," he said in quotes reported by BBC Sport.

"Kevin Pietersen knows he sent the messages to our players.

"The fact David hasn't had sight of those messages, for him to make insinuations that the Proteas players instigated this whole fracas is both irresponsible and unfair.

"We confirmed initially that it was all banter."

Faul spoke with Collier this morning to discuss the comments, although CSA would not reveal what was said between the two while the ECB were not available for comment this morning.