At the root of all England's problems may be the Indian Premier League. It is not simply because Kevin Pietersen wants to play in the cash-laden tournament, it is because the players make friends with each other there.
Jacques Kallis, the great South Africa all-rounder, described yesterday how relationships have changed: "You keep in contact with a few guys that you wouldn't have before the IPL because you're team-mates. You congratulate guys when they do well and keep in touch. It has changed how international players look at each other, but that's just off the field, on the field it's back to business."
It may go some way to explaining why Pietersen texted some South Africa players during the Headingley Test, although it does not explain the apparent content of some of the messages containing critical comments about his coach, Andy Flower, and his captain, Andrew Strauss. "You have got to be careful about just what you send and if you do send messages keep it pretty much to a team-mate of yours," added Kallis.
"If a guy does well and you want to send him a message, the guys will do that especially if you're watching on TV. You have to be more careful during a series when you're playing against each other but even that, you know... I think we've moved on from those days when the guys didn't have any contact with each other."
Pietersen's colleagues from South Africa in the IPL have been Kallis, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. But perhaps not too much should be made of that.
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