England's Pietersen dilemma

South Africa players' association demands Collier apology

George Dobell

October 9, 2012

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

Camp David: David Morgan and David Collier take a walk around Village Green, New Zealand v England, ICC Under-19 World Cup, 7th Place Play-off, Christchurch, January 26, 2010
SACA chief Tony Irish has suggested that David Collier (right) should be punished as a player would be if they made "an inflammatory comment" © Getty Images

The South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) has demanded an apology from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive, David Collier, for his suggestion that Kevin Pietersen was deliberately provoked by the South African players to send messages to them during the recent Test series in England. Tony Irish, chief executive of SACA, has also suggested that Collier should be punished as a player would be if they made "an inflammatory comment".

"Our players are angered by David Collier's claims that they employed unfair and unsporting tactics against Kevin," Irish said. "By his own admission Mr Collier never saw any text messages, or correspondence, and we know that Kevin himself has never suggested that he was provoked, so where is the evidence for this claim?

"In international cricket, if a player makes an inflammatory comment or accusation he gets punished. Look what happened to Kevin Pietersen himself. The players think that the same should apply to administrators, especially when this is done publicly. Our players are awaiting an apology."

Collier made the comments in an interview with the BBC over the weekend. Asked about the context of the messages sent from Pietersen to members of the South Africa touring party, Collier replied: "These were responses to messages from certain members of the South Africa team and I would not condone an England player doing it if it was the other way around, and I certainly think they provoked the situation. There was definitely a policy that was happening but we shouldn't blame the South Africans, we should be above that. I think there was a tactic which was used. I think that is sadly some of the ways of modern sport."

Pietersen was alleged to have made "provocative" comments about England captain, Andrew Strauss, in the messages. Pietersen was subsequently dropped from the England side for the final, deciding Test of the series and omitted from the squad that was sent to defend the World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka. Earlier in the summer, he had been fined by the ECB for making disparaging remarks over Twitter about the commentary skills of SKY's Nick Knight.

Captain of the South Africa Test side, Graeme Smith, said: "We pride ourselves on being a sporting and ethical team. We talk a lot about values and our approach to the game. We play hard but we play fair and any suggestion that we did this as a tactic is totally unwarranted and unnecessary."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Meety on (October 11, 2012, 2:01 GMT)

Collier needs to either put up - or recant his earlier comments! The Saffa player union are on the "moral" highside for the TIME BEING!

Posted by bumsonseats on (October 10, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

well for sure they got the texts and the laughing and guffaws from certain members of their playing staff at the time. KP did not or even has not said what was in them, the ecb did not know. so somebody let out what was in them, who told george, perhaps he can let us know. i would not be surprised for them to come out in the future, and that will be from the saffers.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (October 10, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

Whatever the situation in this cricketing version of Alice in wonderland, it is refreshing to see am ECB top brass being oon KP's side rather than censuring him. Progress comes in strange ways...

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (October 10, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

As an England fan, and close follower of the game, these tactics by the ECB hardly surprise me. its a smokescreen, put up by an outdated institution desperately trying to keep some semblance of respect in place after kow-towing to Peiterson. Institutions like the ECB are rife in England; bureaucracies with an overblown sense of entitlement. These are the stewards of the game over here, stewards I feel, on whose watch, we'll sink lower and lower down the rankings.

Posted by haq33 on (October 10, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

@ greatest game...Here here! ECB should get off its high horse. This level of tit for tat and in some instances tit without any preceding tat is most unbecoming of what we have been led to believe vis a vis the home of cricket. I expect and even encourage such catapulting of detritus across sub continental borders but really, by the ECB??

Posted by keptalittlelow on (October 10, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

I am shocked at David Collier's claims, SA were doing very well anyway, they did not need any 'tactics'. SACA chief Tony Irish is right, his players deserve an apology failing that a clear evidence to prove David Collier's claims is a must.

Posted by samraj63 on (October 10, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

If Steve Finn were not English, he would have been accused of all kinds of conspiracies & strategies against the opposition. The world wouldn't have been surprised if the Bob Willis & the ECB would have had a very quick clarification from the MCC to re-write the laws making it an illegal delivery! Remember the English Test Series in Abu Dhabi, just because the English could figure out Saed Ajmal's bowling they came up with all sorts of theories?! The same player plays in an ICC tournament against all the countries, he's applauded as a genius?! Grow up ECB, get KP onboard the flight to India or get WALLOPPEEDD.....

Posted by Munkeymomo on (October 10, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

Hmm, I'm not a fan of the South African cricket team but they are a fair side. Understandably upset, ECB is just full of numpties.

Posted by brittop on (October 9, 2012, 21:50 GMT)

and perhaps the South African batsmen were really distracted by Steven Finn hitting the stumps as he bowled, and didn't complain just to mess with Finn's head.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (October 9, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

What is Cricinfo's opinion about this? Can we hear David Hopps' take on these current developments?? He has written 2 informative opinion pieces on the subject: " Pietersen outcry no false alarm" on July 6, and "KP's well-groomed apology not the end" on August 12. Both have shown a balanced approach to the big picture. George Dobell could also weigh in - he has taken a strong stance on this matter. Collier seems to have crossed the line, and the ECB also appear to have abruptly changed their stance, making statements directly contradicting their earlier communications. I'm sure Cricinfo readers would appreciate some insight. Hopps & Dobell have been around English cricket for a long time & could provide us with some historical background. Is this unusual for English Cricket Administration, or a storm in a teacup? How does this compare to other Test Countries Boards' accusations about players? Do other readers want to hear from Cricinfo about the ECB's recent statements?

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