England will not be weakened by Kevin Pietersen omission says Graeme Swann


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The Independent Online

England spinner Graeme Swann says England will not be weakened by the absence of Kevin Pietersen for this week's third Test against South Africa at Lord's.

Pietersen was dropped after failing to reveal the contents of text messages allegedly sent to South African players during the drawn match at Headingley.

The England and Wales Cricket Board had told Pietersen his selection was dependant on him confirming publicly that no derogatory texts about his team-mates had been sent to South African players, or if they had been sent, to apologise for them.

Pietersen has yet to respond to the ECB's request, but Swann insists the saga will not impact the rest of the team when they face the Proteas on Thursday.

"We need to pull in the same direction, not 10 of us doing it and one of us not," Swann wrote in his column for The Sun.

"Just because you lose one player, it doesn't necessarily make you a weaker team.

"In fact, since Kevin retired from limited-overs cricket, we are unbeaten in all matches in the shorter formats."

The Headingley Test was the scene of one of Pietersen's best international innings - a man-of-the-match 149. But he left Leeds under a cloud, after a post-match press conference in which he hinted at dressing-room unrest and refused to give assurances that the Lord's Test would not be his last.

"I watched a video of Kevin's press conference last Monday at Headingley, when he spoke about supposed problems in the dressing room," Swann added.

"I was certainly shocked by those claims. I don't know if there were developments during the week at Headingley after I left, but it was news to me.

"And, speaking to a couple of the other lads, it was news to them as well.

"I'd just say that, if there were issues, we pride ourselves on having a very open dressing room and he certainly didn't mention any problems to anyone else."

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan, meanwhile, does not believe the texting controversy need bring about the end of Pietersen's international career, but warned it could be some time before he returns to the dressing room.

"If it's true that he sent those texts, it will take a long time for him to be allowed back," Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It's been a mad, but also a very sad week for the England cricket team. There are no real winners, but one very big loser and that's Kevin Pietersen.

"I don't think he's getting the right advice. I don't know who is advising him but in my eyes they are not doing the right job for Kevin.

"We don't know what has been going on behind the scenes for the last few months, because the text messages could only be a tipping point.

"There's no way he could have arrived in that dressing room at Lord's on Tuesday morning. It will take time, but he will get another chance. I hope he does."