Kevin Pietersen has signed a four-month central contract with the ECB and will be "reintegrated" into the England team after a process of reconciliation has been completed. The announcement could pave the way for Pietersen to be included in England's touring squad to India, although that has not yet been decided on.
Andy Flower, the England coach, will determine when Pietersen will return fully to the fold, once the 32-year-old becomes available for selection. Pietersen said that he hopes to play for England again "as soon as possible" and committed himself to international cricket until the 2015 World Cup.
"It's been a horrible situation for all involved but it's time to move forward," Pietersen said. "All being well I'll be back in an England shirt as soon as possible.
"I am committed to completing the reintegration process we have agreed over the coming weeks and resuming my England career in all formats, hopefully until the World Cup in 2015, as long as my body allows. I want my son growing up seeing me playing for England and I hope one day he will put an England shirt on himself.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to my team-mates, all England supporters and the ECB for the situation that has arisen over the last couple of months. Thankfully we have drawn a line under it and can move forward. Although it has been covered in the statement, I'd like to make it clear that at no time did I share tactical information with any of the South Africans."
Giles Clarke, the ECB's chairman, said: "Kevin has signed a central contract today. Andy Flower will determine the progress of the reintegration process. It could be soon, it could be much later." He added that Pietersen's contract could be extended to the full year once the agreed process had been completed.
Clarke also expressed confidence that Flower, who has supported the hard line taken against Pietersen, will not be disillusioned by the attempts to begin afresh and predicted that he will remain as England's coach until at least the World Cup in 2015.
Pietersen was dropped from the side in August after sending what he admitted were "provocative" texts about the former England captain Andrew Strauss to members of the South Africa team. He was left out for the deciding Test of the series at Lord's, amid concerns about "trust and respect" within the England squad.
The ECB has now said, however, that it has received a "binding assurance" from Pietersen that the messages, which were actually sent via BlackBerry Messenger and have since been deleted, were not derogatory of Strauss and did not contain advice on how to get him out, as had been alleged.
An ECB statement said: "ECB and Kevin Pietersen confirm that agreement has been reached concerning a process for his reintegration into the England team during the remainder of 2012. Upon completion of the programme, the England selectors will consider Kevin for future matches.
"Kevin Pietersen has apologised to Andrew Strauss and wishes to express to all those who support England his regrets at the impact the recent controversies have had on the England Team. He now wishes to put the events of the summer behind him and to focus on regaining his place in the England Team.
"With regards the issue of the BBM messages, due to the fact that Kevin had not retained the BBM messages, this matter has been successfully concluded through a binding assurance provided to ECB by Kevin. Kevin conceded that the messages exchanged were provocative. ECB is satisfied, following receipt of this binding assurance, that to the best of his recollection, Kevin did not convey any messages which were derogatory about the England Captain, the England Team Director, the ECB or employees of the ECB. Furthermore, there was no tactical information whatsoever provided to members of the South African touring party."
England begin their tour of India towards the end of October, with a four-Test series to be followed by two Twenty20 internationals. They will then return to India in January for an ODI series before departing for a tour of New Zealand in February.
Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo