England's Pietersen dilemma August 13, 2012

Pietersen clings to Twenty20 hope


The next significant date in the current dispute between Kevin Pietersen and the ECB is looming on Saturday with the deadline for England to name their World Twenty20 squad.

Confidential negotiations are still ongoing and Pietersen's representatives have not given up on him being considered for the squad if the situation is resolved.

Pietersen was dropped for the third Test against South Africa after failing to provide assurances that the text messages he sent to South African players were not derogatory towards team-mates, including Andrew Strauss, as has been alleged.

The ECB delayed naming the squad for the third Test by five hours to allow Pietersen time to clarify what was in the text messages but no reply was forthcoming. Pietersen, who on Saturday evening released a YouTube video stating his commitment to all cricket for England, responded by saying he was "gutted" to be dropped and wanted to continue his international career.

As with the Test squad the Twenty20 party was selected during a meeting at Edgbaston last week before Pietersen released his video announcing his commitment to all international cricket. Having previously retired from limited-overs cricket in June, Pietersen's name was not in the provisional 30-man list although that in itself does not preclude selection for the tournament.

However, given the tension surrounding both parties, led by Pietersen's refusal to confirm the content of text messages, it would appear a long shot for there to be a chance of resolution before the squad deadline. And, having made such a play of team spirit and unity with the decision to drop Pietersen, the selectors and Andy Flower will not be about to make any swift about turns.

When interviewed on Sunday Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, strongly hinted that the next stage in trying to reach a conclusion will come when the next round of contracts are issued in September, rather than for any imminent squads.

"The selectors will be considering contracts in the coming weeks and those recommendations will go to the board and it is up to them to have a look at this issue," he said.

There is potential for Pietersen to return to action this week for Surrey if he made himself available for the County Championship match against Middlesex. Richard Gould, the Surrey chief executive, said they would be "happy" to have Pietersen if he felt ready to play but as of Monday afternoon had not heard anything.

South Africa, meanwhile, have continued to distance themselves from the ongoing situation and have repeated their statement that the ECB have not made any approach to them to reveal the content of the messages and that the comments were "banter".

"There have been untruthful allegations in the media implicating members of our squad in the current issue between Kevin Pietersen and the ECB," team manager, Dr Mohammed Moosajee, said. "We stand by the same stance we have taken since we heard the news about these allegations.

"Yes, text messages were sent but like we said before it was banter among team-mates, which is perfectly acceptable. The ECB has not made a formal approach to myself or any member of the team to see the text messages, as currently reported in the media.

"Allegations that Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers were the recipients of the texts are unfounded. Until such time that the allegations are met with the correct facts and evidence, we shall not comment.

"The internal issue between Kevin Pietersen and the English cricket board has been publicised for weeks, even before we arrived in the UK and we don't want to get ourselves involved in an issue that has nothing to do with us."

Gary Kirsten, the South Africa coach, said the team's preparations for Lord's were no different. "We will focus on the work we do. We respect the opposition and will not take any Test match for granted. We will look at what the other team has and what areas we can exploit. We don't look too closely at individuals. It's no different to any other Test match."

The ECB, meanwhile, will want to find out why Pietersen went ahead with his YouTube video despite being advised otherwise and is unlikely to be impressed with his specific reference to having spoken to Delhi Daredevils, his IPL franchise, ahead of his announcement while seemingly not keeping his major employers in the loop and his presumption that he would play in "Straussy's 100th Test".

During the interview Pietersen also said he had had an hour-long clear-the-air conversation with a team-mate and the Daily Mail named Matt Prior as the player who attempted to be a go-between between Pietersen and Flower. At the moment, however, it is picking up the phone to the ECB that is Pietersen's only option.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on August 14, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    @Hira1 on (August 14 2012, 01:07 AM GMT) As I have put before to David Hill , I have no knowledge of how these things work but I still don't see how Flower (unless he was the person who tried to stitch KP up by tweeting/texting himself - which would seem highly unlikely?) is involved. And who is Bailsthebadger anyway? Besides KP was given the whole of Sunday morning to clarify the content of the texts. If he had nothing to hide why did he not do so?

  • John on August 14, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta on (August 14 2012, 08:50 AM GMT) Not sure either way whether he will change. Depending on what someone's done , I'm for giving folk a second chance.

  • John on August 14, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    @Lmaotsetung on (August 14 2012, 04:40 AM GMT) I half agree , but I feel most Eng fans do want KP playing for England but the difference is that we are not clouded by our views of him as a player to judge ECBs decision , especially without knowing exactly what has been said etc.

  • Prasanna on August 14, 2012, 15:53 GMT

    The best thing for SA is to forget about the ranking and play their natural game. Let Steyn fire in all the cylinders, Kallis, Smith, Amla and ABDV dig-in deep and the rest will fall in place. As an Aussie , worried about a prospect though - the last time SA won a test-series in Eng, they won it in Aus as well .

  • John on August 14, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    @Hammond - yeah, we do, but your feckless bunch of asphyiating under-achievers need some decent bowlers. I remember that post you wrote a few weeks back, Finn to be #1 bowler within 3-years. Lovely dream mate, several young AUS bowlers with far more ability & talent than him - and yes, they WILL be on the pitch come the next Ashes, and they'll be ripping through the ENG top-order like a scythe through wheat. For all the hype about Anderson, he's been ordinary of late, and his career record isn't stellar. 72tests, 270 wickets @ 30.41 each; compare to MJ from AUS (yeah, that bloke you've often put it too), 47 tests, 190 wickets @ 31.29 each - except for the no. of tests played, remarkably similar stats. Yet we never hear anyone having a go at the "golden boy". Don't worry, Saffers will dominate him at Lords, and in IND he'll be lucky average < 50/wicket!! As for Swann, as RandyOZ has been trying to educate you Pom fans - he should stick to writing books, because he's a crap bowler.

  • Jem on August 14, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    @Ross_Co on (August 14 2012, 11:47 AM GMT) - I'm referring to England of course.. the country which KP CHOSE to make his home, rather than living here as a mere accident of birth. What is absolutely wrong is all the Asian/African/West Indian immigrants who come to the UK to make their living and benefit from the advantages that our multi-cultural country offers, yet continue to wave the flags of their birth land. We rightly welcome them here but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect them to support this country in any sporting events. If I choose to live elsewhere (as I may indeed do before long, as I despise the Manchester weather!) then you can be assured that I would support the country where I choose to make my home in any sporting match they may have against England. KP chose to be English so deserves our respect for that.

  • Jem on August 14, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    @Si Baker - I'm not being argumentative here but I'd genuinely love to know how you know so much about the recipients and content of KP's texts. All I've found so far is that KP definitely sent some texts to one or more SA players, which was reported to be AB and Steyn, though this seemed to be denied by the SA manager. No content of the texts has ever been disclosed as far as I'm aware, though it was said to include "derogatory comments" about Strauss and, I believe Flower/ECB. Do you know something the rest of us don't and if so, please share!! For my part, I don't see the fuss. It's one thing to say something publicly on Twitter that may undermine the team management/morale, but surely a private text to whoever is exactly that - a PRIVATE text! If KP felt aggrieved by something Strauss may have done/said, then KP has a right to express that "in confidence" to a friend. We all moan to friends about our boss!! Much as I despise the man, Piers Morgan has for once got this right!

  • Ross on August 14, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    @FreddyForPrimeMinister -"a hugely talented batsman who ultimately let down himself and his country" - err, which country are you talking about exactly?

  • Kanu on August 14, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    @Si Baker: I think you are refering to Piers Morgan (a journalist/media personality) who has come out in Kevin's defend, rather than Eoin Morgan, the cricketer?

  • Ashley on August 14, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    And Pakistan front foot Lunge or have you forgotten 0 -3 in the UAE.But I do agree that SA and England are the 2 best teams in the world. The efforts of Australia A on tour at the moment hardly fill me with confidence for the future. I think the Aussie bowling is getting closer to England's bowling but our batting is nowhere near the batting of England with or without KP. While they may be dour give me Trott and Cook over Warner and Watson any day as test batsmen.

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