Never mind that Kevin Pietersen may be English cricket's best batsman. Given that he is unable adequately to explain derogatory text messages about some of his team-mates allegedly sent to their opponents, he can expect little sympathy for being excluded from the side.
It is not as if the current brouhaha is an isolated incident. Mr Pietersen has a penchant for grabbing the limelight, for good or ill – not least with his recent threats to retire from international cricket, complete with hints about problems in the dressing room.
The many displays of sporting spirit at the Olympics cast Mr Pietersen's shenanigans in an even less favourable light than usual. Put simply, the team must come before the individual, regardless of his talent. Even if England now lose against South Africa, the decision to drop Mr Pietersen was still the right one.