Pietersen's England exile over as ECB accept Strauss texts were not 'derogatory'
11:19 GMT, 3 October 2012
Kevin Pietersen and the England and Wales Cricket Board have announced that they have agreed 'a process for his re-integration into the England team' but he looks unlikely to make his return before the new year.
ECB chairman Giles Clarke has confirmed that Pietersen has agreed a new England central contract. His
previous deal with the ECB expired two days ago, but the issue of
'provocative' phone messages to friends in the Proteas dressing room
appears to have been finally resolved.
Pietersen has not played international cricket since the second Test against South Africa in the summer, being dropped for the series finale and then being left out of the World Twenty20 squad despite reversing his limited-overs retirement.
Discussions have been ongoing behind the scenes in a bid to establish common ground with Pietersen and while the news appears positive in terms of Pietersen continuing his England career, the forthcoming Test tour to India looks likely to be too soon.
Pietersen is expected to thrash out his differences with the other England players in private at a holding camp in Dubai later this month.
Switching roles: Pietersen has been working as a pundit for ESPN in Sri Lanka during the world Twenty20
Clarke, speaking at a joint press conference with Pietersen in Colombo, said: 'Kevin will be engaged in a reintegration process which has already started today with a lengthy discussion with me.'
The ECB released a statement conceding that the text messages Pietersen sent to members of the South Africa team about then captain Andrew Strauss during the second Test at Headingley in August were not 'derogatory'
The exact content of the messages
sent by Pietersen has not been established but
the ECB have accepted a promise by the player that they were not
critical of his England colleagues or tactically sensitive.
The statement read: 'ECB and Kevin
Pietersen confirm that agreement has been reached concerning a process
for his re-integration 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.
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.'
Certainty has been a scarce commodity throughout the recent saga, meaning a Pietersen return for the four Tests in India cannot be ruled out. An alternative comeback date could be the five-match one-day series in India at the start of January, which is followed by an all-format visit to New Zealand.
Top class: Pietersen his 149 against South Africa in his last Test for England, at Headingley in August
Pietersen's annual central contract lapsed two days ago.
He was not included previously on the
list last month of those awarded contracts for 2012/13, and it is
understood – after a summer of wrangles and disagreements with his
employers and team-mates – the South Africa-born batsman turned down the
subsequent offer of a four-month deal.
32-year-old's return to the England team appears most likely to come in
time for either next year's January one-day international tour of India
or the trip to New Zealand which follows. But he may yet be added to
the squad, already picked without him, to travel to India at the end of
this month for a four-Test tour.
alienated many in the summer, first of all with his wish to play a full
Indian Premier League campaign at a time when England have Test match
obligations next spring, and then with the 'provocative' text messages
he sent to opposition South Africa players during the Headingley Test.
reacted by dropping him from the final Test at Lord's, and he has also
been absent from their failed ICC World Twenty20 campaign in Sri Lanka –
where he is instead working as a television pundit.
he has apologised for sending the texts – which may or may not have
contained 'derogatory' reference to former Test captain Strauss –
and has also been engaged in recent weeks in a series of meetings with
ECB top brass, aimed at finding the necessary common ground to
reintegrate him into the England fold.