England's Pietersen dilemma October 9, 2012

South Africa players' association demands Collier apology

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