I've said sorry! What more can I do, asks KP as he is left out of Test squad
21:30 GMT, 18 September 2012
Kevin Pietersen appeared to shift the blame for the impasse that has brought his international career to a halt on to the ECB on Tuesday.
A statement from his management company following his widely predicted omission from the 16-man Test squad for India — and headed ‘Kevin Pietersen, MBE’ — said: ‘Kevin Pietersen is naturally disappointed about today’s decision, having gone to great lengths to reach a reconciliation with the ECB.
‘Pietersen has met with — and apologised to — Andrew Strauss. He has also met with Alastair Cook to stress his commitment to England and met with ECB board members, including face-to-face meetings with Hugh Morris, David Collier and Andy Flower.’
No go: Kevin Pietersen has been left out of the England squad for India
Pietersen, who is currently in Sri Lanka providing studio-based punditry on the World Twenty20 for Asian television, also said sorry to the ECB for sending ‘provocative’ texts to South Africa’s players during the summer.
And he reiterated his insistence — as reported by Sportsmail — that he ‘did not offer any tactical advice to the South Africans’. Most crucially, perhaps, the statement added: ‘Pietersen remains available for England.’
But if the intention was to show the public that England’s ostracised middle-order star is beginning to feel like the aggrieved party in the stand-off with his employers, then the ECB had already made their position clear.
England managing director Morris confirmed there were ‘issues that still need to be resolved’, while national selector Geoff Miller said he was ‘not prepared to pick the best players if it is creating a problem in the changing room’.
New role: Pietersen will commentate throughout the World Twenty20 tournament
Even so, suggestions Pietersen may have played his last game for England are premature. Talks about his future will continue with the ECB, and Pietersen could be offered a central contract before the end of the year. England, though, may insist he commit to all forms of international cricket for the next two years at least. However, he may have to wait until they travel to New Zealand in February for his next taste of international cricket.
England’s top brass are keen to give the new Test captain Alastair Cook the chance to bed in without distractions, and there is a desire to allow team director Andy Flower some breathing space from an issue that has dominated the summer.
There is also irritation that Pietersen does appear to understand that the problem goes deeper than a few text messages.
Miller said: ‘If all the issues are resolved then Pietersen would very much come back into the reckoning. I don’t want any kind of distraction in a changing room. It is hard enough playing international cricket without any distractions so if there is one I need to know why.
Warming up: England are preparing for their title defence
Alastair Cook (Essex, captain), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell (both Warwickshire), Nick Compton (Somerset), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Matt Prior (Sussex, wicketkeeper), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Graham Onions (Durham), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Monty Panesar (Sussex)
‘I told him the exact reason he has not been selected and we then had a five-to-10-minute chat, which remains private.’
Sitting in a Colombo TV studio between Wasim Akram and Sourav Ganguly, former captains of Pakistan and India respectively, Pietersen said: ‘I’d love to be playing, but it’s not to be, so the next best thing is to be sitting here talking about it.’
Asked to name his 10 players to watch at the World Twenty20, he included former England team-mates Eoin Morgan and Graeme Swann. Pietersen said of Swann: ‘He is absolutely brilliant, very clever. I think he’ll have a very good World Cup in Sri Lanka.’
Meanwhile, disgraced Pakistan pair Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer will provide commentary on Pakistani television on the World Twenty20. The former Pakistan captain and fast bowler, who were released from jail earlier this year following their part in the Lord’s spot-fixing scandal of 2010, remain banned from playing any form of cricket, but a Pakistan Cricket Board source insisted their commentary stints did not violate the ban.