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Pietersen in the eye of a storm

Kevin Pietersen has found himself at the centre of a storm after comments made in an interview with the South African edition of GQ magazine

Cricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen back in South Africa during England's 2004-05 tour © Getty Images
Kevin Pietersen has found himself at the centre of a storm after comments made in an interview with the South African edition of GQ magazine led to the South African board (CSA) writing to the ICC and England board (ECB) demanding that action be taken.
At the heart of the furore are comments made by Pietersen concerning events that led to him leaving South Africa and moving to England. He claimed that he was forced out of the game in South Africa because of racist policies against white players. There is a quota system where each first-class team in South Africa is expected to contain at least four non-white players.
What is more surprising about the timing of CSA's complaint is that Pietersen's comments have been aired many times before, including in his autobiography Crossing The Boundary published in September.
If the ICC decide there is a case to answer then he could be charged with bringing the game into disrepute, which covers inappropriate public comment. It carries penalties ranging from a ban of two to four Tests or four to eight one-day matches.
It emerged yesterday that CSA demanded an ICC investigation, claiming that his comments amounted to accusations of racism against the country's cricket system. CSA also asked the ECB to take action against Pietersen for his constant criticism of Graeme Smith, South Africa's captain.
The South African authorities are also thought to be livid at implications made by Pietersen over match-fixing. "At the end of the day (cheating) is wrong," he was quoted as saying. "But I can see how it happens. Hansie copped a lot more than he should have. I think he took the brunt for the players. There are a lot of people who I think that have done stuff that people don't know about and got away with it."
Pietersen's comments about the appointment of Ashwell Prince as South Africa's stand-in captain also rankled. "I just thought it was further evidence that things were going downhill ... it's got nothing to do with the colour of his skin. It's just that better players are being left out for political reasons and until that system changes, South African sport will continue to go downhill.
"I've got some mates who are now on the fringes of playing domestic cricket in South Africa who are better than three or four of those players in the South African side. I've got a very good mate who is actually a better player than me, who is now working for SA Breweries, because he can't get into the side for political reasons and that's wrong."