Kevin Pietersen's England career could be over as he fails to account for derogatory texts sent to South African players

Batsman dropped for crucial third Test as Bairstow recalled

England took a huge gamble in the name of team spirit yesterday by dropping Kevin Pietersen. He will not play in the crucial third Test of the Investec series against South Africa, which starts at Lord's on Thursday, and unless there is an unlikely rapprochement his international career could be over.

Pietersen's omission from a match that England must win to level the rubber and retain their No 1 world ranking marked the culmination of a remarkable seven days. It was typical of him that he should issue a defiant statement a few hours after his dropping was announced. "To say I'm gutted is an understatement," he said. "This entire episode has been demoralising for me and my family, but none of this constitutes the end of my international career."

After intensive negotiations between the player, his advisers and the England management, it seemed that agreement had been reached which would allow his inclusion. On Saturday night, Pietersen released a privately shot video interview in which he made himself available for England in all forms of the game, thus renouncing his limited-overs retirement.

He also said he would not seek to play in all of the Indian Premier League next year, admitted he had been wrong in some respects and insisted that it was not all about money. "The video I released was to bring closure to the issues I had at the time," he said. "I stand by every word I said in that video."

But he has still failed to address what was the final stumbling block: the text messages he was reported to have sent to members of the South Africa team around the second Test at Headingley, in which he scored a brilliant hundred. The England and Wales Cricket Board wanted public reassurances that these were not derogatory concerning team-mates or management, particularly the captain, Andrew Strauss, and the coach, Andy Flower.

When there was only silence from the Pietersen camp – and the squad announcement was delayed by five hours to provide him with time and opportunity – England took their astonishing step. Jonny Bairstow has been recalled in his place. Given the reasons, it is difficult to imagine Pietersen rejoining an England dressing room any time soon, if ever.

In his statement, however, Pietersen said: "I love England and I love cricket. I wish the team and Straussy, in particular, every success next week."

It has been a long road to this moment. Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, said: "During the past week we have held several discussions with Kevin Pietersen and his advisers. Following a constructive meeting it was agreed that a number of actions needed to be completed to re-engage Kevin within the England dressing room.

"A fundamental item was to confirm publicly that no derogatory texts had been sent by Kevin to the South African team. This has not been forthcoming, despite clear timelines being set to allow the selectors to pick the squad for the third Investec Test Match. We provided an additional six hours this morning to provide every opportunity for agreement to be reached but, regrettably, this has not been possible.

"The success of the England team has been built on a unity of purpose and trust. Whilst we have made every attempt to find a solution to enable Kevin to be selected we have sadly had to conclude that, in the best interest of the team, he will miss the Lord's Test."

Although text messages are nominally private communication between individuals, it beggars belief that Pietersen would be so foolish. But it is not simply what the messages may or may not contain, it is that he apparently sent them to England's opponents. There has to be a limit.

Pietersen will dominate the days before the match and England are bound to be distracted. England cannot be anything else but underprepared despite Flower's implacable determination.

They will be a lesser team without him and the 149 he made in the first innings at Leeds only nine days ago demonstrates why. If that proves to be his final match it was some memorial. Players have been dropped after slow centuries before, Ken Barrington and Geoff Boycott among them, but never following such a scintillating one.

The first inkling that Pietersen's career was in jeopardy came after the Leeds match when he first gave an interview on Test Match Special and then gave an extraordinary press conference in which he said there were matters that needed sorting.

During the days that followed the text messages lent an extra dimension to events. Just when it seemed England might drop him, Pietersen issued his video interview, though without telling the management. His renewed availability, going against much of what he had said before about the need for rest, was a last-ditch attempt to save his career. It may well have failed.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



England squad: Third test

Versus South Africa, starting at Lord's on Thursday

A J Strauss (Middx, capt), J M Anderson (Lancs), J M Bairstow (Yorks), I R Bell (Warwicks), T T Bresnan (Yorks), S C J Broad (Notts), A N Cook (Essex) S T Finn (Middx), G Onions (Durham), M J Prior (Sussex, wk), G P Swann, J W A Taylor (both Notts), I J L Trott (Warwicks).

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
News
people
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape