Did Kevin Pietersen betray his captain by advising South Africa how to dismiss Andrew Strauss?

Did Pietersen betray his captain by advising South Africa how to dismiss Strauss

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UPDATED:

22:53 GMT, 18 August 2012

The Kevin Pietersen controversy took a sensational twist amid claims the England batsman 'betrayed his captain' by sending texts to his South African opponents with advice on how to dismiss Andrew Strauss.

Pietersen, who is fighting to save his international career, has maintained the messages were just 'banter'.

But the Sunday Times claims one text message from Pietersen is understood to have suggested during the second Test at Leeds that South Africa's bowlers go round the wicket at Strauss.

Text shame: Kevin Pietersen may never play for England again

Text shame: Kevin Pietersen may never play for England again

Dale Steyn dismissed Strauss by using the tactic in the first innings.

Morne Morkel, who received the
messages intended for Steyn, also dismissed Strauss in the same fashion
during the first Test at the Oval.

The ECB will also ask Pietersen about a vile four-letter attack on Strauss.

At least one text – sent by the
South African-born England batsman to opposing South African players –
referred to team mate Andrew Strauss as a 'doos'. In Afrikaans the
word literally means 'box', but it has a slang application of 'dumb
c***'.

The message,
thought to be one of a series, cost Pietersen his place in the crucial
final Test against South Africa at Lord's. And the disclosure of its
obscene content will deepen divisions within the England team and
further infuriate Strauss, who was also born in South Africa.

Although 32-year-old Pietersen issued a carefully worded apology after the scandal broke last week, he has been warned he will not even be considered for England duties again unless he divulges the full content of all the texts.

A source close to the England dressing room said: 'If he refuses to show the contents of the texts then he's finished and if he does show the texts then he's probably finished anyway.'

Unimpressed: Andrew Strauss during the Test on Saturday

Unimpressed: Andrew Strauss during the Test on Saturday

Pietersen is understood to have sent
the messages to South African stars AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn
during the second drawn Test in Leeds that culminated in a press
conference in which Pietersen highlighted divisions within the dressing
room.

He later
described the text as 'banter between close friends', but Strauss
admitted he felt 'let down' by his highest profile player.

In a further embarrassment, it has also become clear that Pietersen spent the Monday night of England's defeat in the first Test in a London wine bar close to his Chelsea home with members of the victorious South African team.

While his own team-mates licked their wounds, he was spotted in Brinkley's, a favourite haunt of Chelsea players – including his friend Frank Lampard – alongside Steyn and de Villiers and a handful of others.

Tensions between the batsman and the
England management have been especially acute after cricket chiefs
refused his demands that he be allowed to pick and choose his Test and
one-day appearances so he could accept a contract worth more than
1.5million to appear in the Indian Premier League.

Encounter: Dale Steyn (right) was one of the players Pietersen met in the wine bar

Encounter: Dale Steyn (right) was one of the players Pietersen met in the wine bar

Pietersen's fall from grace overshadowed the deciding third Test, which saw England facing a struggle despite his replacement Jonny Bairstow making 95.

If England lose or draw the match, they will lose their world No 1 ranking to South Africa.

The Mail on Sunday has learned the source of the original texts leak is a member of the official South Africa tour party, despite denials.

On Wednesday, the tourists' captain Graeme Smith said claims that the existence of the texts had been deliberately made public were a 'load of rubbish'.

On Saturday night the England camp said it had no further comment and Pietersen's spokeman could not be reached.