Kevin Pietersen resolution 'nearing an end now - in a positive way' says Andy Flower

 

England team director Andy Flower is hopeful of a positive resolution to the Kevin Pietersen saga today or tomorrow.

Pietersen has not played for England since making 149 in the second Investec Test against South Africa in August after a storm over his text messages to South Africa players which allegedly contained "derogatory" references to then England captain Andrew Strauss.

That saw him miss out on their failed World Twenty20 title defence, the upcoming tour of India and a central contract for the new season, but Flower is optimistic an agreement has finally been reached.

"The situation is ongoing. I think it's nearing an end now - in a positive way, I hope," he said.

"There's been a lot of formal communication between the ECB and Kevin, and there will be a press conference I would imagine in the next 36 hours which will enlighten you a little further."

The expectation of an imminent reconciliation has even led to speculation Pietersen could be added to the party travelling to India later this month.

Flower did not rule out such an eventuality but would not be drawn on the specific details of Pietersen's likely return.

"We don't close doors to anyone," he said. "If we get over that first stage first and get some of the formal legal proceedings out of the way, then we'll get on to the cricket thereafter."

England's top order, shorn of Pietersen's presence, failed to produce the runs required in Sri Lanka as the reigning champions' participation in the World Twenty20 ended at the Super Eight stage with defeat by the hosts yesterday.

And Flower admitted: "Last night was a quarter-final, effectively, and we weren't good enough to beat Sri Lanka on their home soil.

 

 

"There were little sparks of positive play but they were more streetwise than us and obviously deserved to win the game.

"It's sad that we're leaving this early, but that is the fact of life."

Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad was keen to pick out the positives on offer despite England's failure to reach the last four of the tournament.

Steven Finn's bowling, Luke Wright's much-improved batting and - against Sri Lanka - the strokeplay and know-how of Samit Patel all suggested England have the talent to do better.

Patel's maiden Twenty20 international half-century took England to within 19 runs of Sri Lanka's 169 for six in a final Super Eight match they had to win to progress to the knockout stages.

"The way Samit played the spin was very encouraging," said Broad.

"He looked a class act out there, and if we could just have hung around and stayed with him we knew the last four or five overs can go for anything here - because the ball just flies away.

"He did really well. His big strength is the way he plays the spin and how he hits over the off-side; he made some really good spinners go for a few runs here.

"That's a huge positive for us, not just as a Twenty20 team but as an England cricket side for the future."

PA

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