Kevin Pietersen must come clean about texts or miss out on T20 defence
England management debating whether to include embattled batsman in squad as text saga rumbles on
England are in another race against time and more anguished reflection to try to salvage Kevin Pietersen's international career. After dropping him for the decisive third Test against South Africa which begins at Lord's on Thursday, the management must decide whether to include him in the squad for the defence of the World Twenty20 title next month.
Although his selection seems unlikely for the party which has to be named by Saturday, Pietersen could be crucial to their chances in Sri Lanka as he was when they became champions in style in the Caribbean two years ago. To stand any chance of being picked, Pietersen will have to come clean about the text messages he sent to South Africa players around the second Test at Headingley, which were derogatory about the England captain, Andrew Strauss, and coach, Andy Flower.
It was Pietersen's refusal to make a public statement about the messages - either refuting their existence or apologising for them - which led to his omission from the match at Lord's, which England must win to level the series and retain their status as the world's No 1 Test team.
South Africa may or may not have helped Pietersen's cause yesterday by distancing themselves from the furore and belittling the significance of the texts. The team manager, Dr Mohammad Moosajee, said there had been untruthful allegations in the media implicating squad members.
"We stand by the same stance we have taken since we heard the news about these allegations," he said. "Yes, text messages were sent but like we said before it was banter among team-mates, which is acceptable.
"The ECB has not made a formal approach to myself or any member of the team to see the text messages. Allegations that Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers were the recipients of the texts are unfounded. Until such time that the allegations are met with the correct facts and evidence, we shall not comment." Reports about the texts were first published in a South African paper but given further credence in England last week. Rumours about their content have been circulating for days, without any conclusive proof that Pietersen derided Flower's controlling influence in the dressing room and disparaged Strauss while suggesting how to get him out.
Moosajee said: "The internal issue between Kevin Pietersen and the English cricket board has been publicised for weeks, even before we arrived in the UK, and we don't want to get ourselves involved in an issue that has nothing to do with us."
Pietersen was not included in the original 30 names submitted to the ICC for the World T20 but then he was still retired from limited-overs cricket. In a video released on Saturday, designed to win public support, he made himself available for England in all forms of the game. ICC regulations permit amendments to the final 15 in exceptional circumstances. If nothing else, these circumstances are certainly that.
Brendan Rodgers says Manchester City's slip is timely warning for Liverpool title hopes
30 players who could be set for a big-money transfer this summer
Manchester United transfer news: David Moyes watches Porto stars Eliaquim Mangala and Jackson Martinez as recruitment drive steps up a gear
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2 match report: Gareth Bale scores wonder goal to claim Copa del Rey for Real
Luis Suarez: Could Liverpool cash in on their star striker if they won the Premier League this season?
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back