England v South Africa: Kevin Pietersen sorry for ‘provocative’ texts
England batsman Kevin Pietersen apologises for sending "provocative" texts to members of the South Africa squad
Kevin Pietersen has apologised for sending “provocative” text messages to members of the South African team but ECB officials refused to say whether he would be recalled to the England team.
Pieteren has been axed from the England squad to face the Proteas in the final Test at Lord’s after he failed to give assurances to the ECB over the weekend that he did not send messages to South African players criticising captain Andrew Strauss.
The 32-year-old said in an ECB statement on Wednesday: “I did send what you might call provocative texts to my close friends in the South Africa team.
“The texts were meant as banter between close friends. I need to rein myself in sometimes. I apologise to Straussy and the team for the inappropriate remarks at the press conference and for the texts.
“I truly didn’t mean to cause upset or tension particularly with important games at stake.”
England managing director Hugh Morris said it was too soon to decide whether Pietersen would make a return for England.
He said: “We are in receipt of Kevin’s apology, but further discussions need to take place to establish whether it is possible to regain the trust and mutual respect required to ensure all parties are able to focus on playing cricket and to maintain the unity of purpose that has served us so well in recent years.
“Critically, those discussions should take place behind closed doors, rather than in the media spotlight.
“A successful conclusion to this process is in everyone’s best interests and is required for Kevin Pietersen’s potential selection in all forms of the game to be considered.
“At the moment we have an important Test match to focus on and therefore ECB will make no further comment until such time as is appropriate.”
Meanwhile, Stuart Broad has denied his involvement in a Twitter account parodying Pietersen ahead of the final Test.
South-African born Pietersen hinted at a possible retirement from international Test cricket after his unbeaten 149 rescued a draw for England at Headingley last Tuesday.
He was reported to have become discontented with a series of unflattering Tweets from the controversial account, with several of his colleagues speculated to be behind the profile.
But Twitter user Richard Bailey, who is a friend of Broad’s, said he had created and managed the account, which was followed by Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan and others members of the England team.
“I had no involvement in this whatsoever,” said Broad.
“I did not play any role in the creation of this account or provide Mr Bailey with any information regarding Kevin Pietersen or the England team.
“Mr Bailey is a friend of mine, but we had no conversations regarding this issue at all and I am pleased that he has now decided to close the parody account down.”