Pietersen's corruption claim angers South Africa

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As if things were not already hot enough for England's cricketers, now it appears that the batsman Kevin Pietersen has stirred up a spot of bother for himself.

Pietersen's comments in a magazine interview on corruption and racism in South African cricket have prompted that country's governing body to fire off letters of complaint to the International Cricket Council and to the England and Wales Cricket Board calling for him to be punished.

If his remarks in the South African edition of GQ magazine are taken seriously then the Hampshire and England player could face disciplinary action.

An ICC spokesman said in Dubai last night: "We have received a letter from Cricket South Africa in relation to Kevin Pietersen, but we are not going to comment on the matter any further at the moment." In the interview Pietersen repeated his previous claim that he was forced out of South African cricket by the racial quotas system whereby each first-class team in that country is expected to contain at least four non-white players. He also expressed his admiration for the late Hansie Cronje, the former South Africa captain who was found guilty of match-fixing and banned from the game.

According to reports, Cricket SA has demanded the ICC's anti-corruption unit investigates Pietersen and the ECB disciplines him for his continued charges of racism against the country's cricket system. The ECB has also been asked to act over Pietersen's strident criticism of the South Africa captain, Graeme Smith.

Cricket SA wants the ICC corruption watchdog to establish whether Pietersen has any knowledge of corruption involving any South Africa players. If he does, Cricket SA wants those players investigated. If not, it wants the ICC to punish him for making false claims.

Pietersen is quoted in GQ as saying: "Hansie copped a lot more than he should have. There are... people who I think that have done stuff that people don't know about and got away with it."

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