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.
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Sami Khedira to Arsenal? Arsene Wenger reveals Gunners are still in the market for defensive midfielder
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Risky business to think Balotelli can replace Suarez
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football
Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians