The former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur believes it could take years for Kevin Pietersen to regain the trust of his England team-mates following his summer of unrest.
Pietersen has been cast out of the international set-up after admitting, and apologising for, sending texts about his colleagues to South Africa players during the recently completed Test series. The controversy has left the 32-year-old's England future in jeopardy, with upcoming clear-the-air talks with captain Andrew Strauss – reportedly one of the players Pietersen sent derogatory texts about – the first step towards any resolution.
Arthur, who took over as Australia coach last year, reckons the England hierarchy have handled the situation well but expects it will take some time for the wounds of the saga to heal, if they do at all. "It takes time to mend," said Arthur. "They say trust and reputation takes a year to two years to really build, and you can lose it in two minutes. I think that's where they've got to with KP now.
"England have dealt with it in the best possible way. The way they've handled it has been clinical. It's been ruthless. It's been very good. There's no one guy that's bigger than the team and England must've thought that KP had got to that point. It was tough for them. It was pretty unsettling, but I think they've handled it very well."
England's team director, Andy Flower, has admitted it could take some time for Pietersen to re-establish the mutual respect required to welcome him back into the fold and has called on him to divulge the content of his texts during his talks with Strauss.
Such an admission would be seen as a vital move for any smoothing-over pf the situation. Pietersen may feel there is more urgency in repairing the relationship, especially as his England and Wales Cricket Board central contract is due for renewal next month.
Pietersen's relationship with the ECB has, however, been fractured over the summer following his decision to retire from limited-overs internationals, although he then reversed that decision in a bizarre YouTube video he broadcast earlier this month. On Tuesday, he was overlooked for the squad to defend England's World Twenty20 title after missing out on the Lord's Test against South Africa.
Flower refused to be drawn on the ramifications Pietersen's talks with Strauss would have on his England future, although he admitted he did not expect a resolution before the central contracts are re-signed.
"I don't think it would be fair for me to say that," he said. "Regardless of central contracts, I wouldn't like to put a time frame on it because that might be unrealistic. To resolve certain issues of trust and mutual respect, it might take longer than that."
While Flower is braced for a drawn-out affair, he is sure of the starting point for Pietersen's fall from grace – the Indian Premier League. Despite Pietersen denying he wished to play a full IPL season with Delhi Daredevils next spring, Flower is not so certain that was initially the case.
And with no sign of an IPL window being introduced, Flower expects that particular problem to linger on.Reuse content