Pietersen apologises for Twitter outburst
Kevin Pietersen has apologised for the foul-mouthed Twitter outburst that followed his omission from England's one-day squad for the forthcoming series against Pakistan, and has set his sights on rediscovering his form during a two-and-a-half week loan spell with Surrey that gets underway with a floodlit CB40 fixture at The Oval on Wednesday night.
Pietersen accidentally broke the ECB's squad announcement embargo on Tuesday afternoon when he posted a message to his Twitter feed declaring: "Done for rest of summer!! Man of the World Cup T20 and dropped from the T20 side too. Its a f**k up!!" Though the message was swiftly deleted, it was inevitably picked up by several of his 38,000 "followers" and circulated around the internet.
"It came out in a way I obviously didn't want it to come out," Pietersen told Surreycricket.tv. "The Twitter thing was a direct message - as anyone who is on Twitter knows, you can send direct messages to your friends, or whoever's following you and you follow them - so I must apologise that it ended up in the public domain, and also apologise for the language I used in it. I would never ever swear on Twitter when going out into the public domain, so this is a big apology, and now it's a case of looking forward what is going to be an exciting couple of weeks."
Although Pietersen was not best pleased at being dropped, he insisted the anger had been a spur-of-the-moment reaction, and that he fully understood the reasons for the selectors' decision, after he struggled to a tally of 140 runs in the four-Test series against Pakistan, with a top-score of 80 at Edgbaston that involved at least four clear-cut chances.
"It was just a mistake," he reiterated. "I hold nothing against the England selectors and the England set-up at all, I was just pretty upset and frustrated with my own form. I've spoken to the coach [Andy Flower], the Twenty20 captain [Paul Collingwood], the chairman of selectors [Geoff Miller], and the managing director of English cricket [Hugh Morris], and they all totally understand. It's onwards and upwards."
Pietersen will be available for two 40-over fixtures with Surrey, as well as two Championship games, and he was effusive in his praise for a club that has stepped in to help both the man himself and his employers, the ECB, after his relationship with his previous county, Hampshire, soured to such an extent that they refused to pick him on the rare occasions that he was released from England duty - not least their victory in Twenty20 finals day at the Rose Bowl last month.
"Surrey have been absolutely amazing, I cannot thank them enough," said Pietersen. "They are a great club with a great history, and some great people who've been very welcoming. There are some familiar faces here and also a dressing-room full of promising cricketers, so I feel pretty good and they've made me feel very comfortable in the rooms already.
"One of the big reasons why I decided Hampshire wasn't the best option for me, was that I could easily do all my training and rehab in London. Hopefully I can repay them by passing on my experience to the younger players, who can pick my brain over the way to do things - and not do things - and also by scoring some runs to get back into some reasonable form, and enjoy a couple of weeks at a fantastic club with some fantastic people."
The most significant matches from the point of view of Pietersen's pre-Ashes rehabilitation are Surrey's final two Championship fixtures against Glamorgan at home and Gloucestershire away. Since making his England Test debut in July 2005, Pietersen has featured in a solitary county four-day fixture, for Hampshire against Somerset at Taunton in May 2008, and he himself admitted that the opportunity for a low-key stint in first-class cricket would be invaluable.
"Any opportunity in the middle is an opportunity I'll grab with both hands, but the two four-day games will be ideal for my preparations," he said. "It's understandable that the selectors would like me to play some four-day cricket, because since my Achilles injury the only four-day cricket I've played have been Test matches, and it's pretty difficult to sort your game when you go into a Test match set-up, if you're not playing at the top of your game. It will be a wonderful opportunity to get back into nick and get ready for a very exciting winter."