Tag Archives: maverick

Steven Gerrard says Liverpool were at their best against QPR

Liverpool are back to their best! Skipper Gerrard hails win over QPR

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UPDATED:

19:32 GMT, 30 December 2012

Captain Steven Gerrard felt Liverpool’s first-half performance in their 3-0 win at QPR was their best of the season.

The Anfield club scored three goals in 13 minutes, with Luis Suarez getting two and Daniel Agger the other, and were in control beyond that.

They were hardly tested by a Rangers side in big trouble at the bottom and Gerrard admitted his men had been on the money.

Season's best: Liverpool's Luis Suarez (right) celebrates scoring his side's second goal

Season's best: Liverpool's Luis Suarez (right) celebrates scoring his side's second goal

'I wouldn’t say it was easy, that would be disrespectful to QPR, they are having a tough time,” he told Sky Sports 1.

'If we started well we knew we could quieten the crowd and that was the best we’ve played this season in the first half.

Back to their best: Steven Gerrard says Liverpool's win was their best performance of the season

Back to their best: Steven Gerrard says Liverpool's win was their best performance of the season

'The plan was for us to get more goals, but Harry Redknapp is a top manager and QPR changed things in the second half so credit to them.”

Suarez’s goals added further to the brilliant season he has had and Gerrard added of the Uruguayan: 'He’s been brilliant ever since he came here. He’s a magician.

'These clubs have to play him twice a season but we have to play against him every day!'

Coach Colin Pascoe took the Liverpool side in the absence of the ill Brendan Rodgers and he agreed with Gerrard’s assessment of Suarez.

'He’s a maverick, he’s brilliant, I can’t speak highly enough of him. He’s a true gentleman,' he said.

'But all of the lads were magnificent. The chances we created were phenomenal. We could have had a couple more. Some of our play was exciting to watch and I’m sure our fans will be happy tonight.

'It was fantastic to watch, the way the lads passed the ball around and the weight of our chances.'

Mario Balotelli makes me want to kill him, says Manchester City team-mate Pablo Zabaleta

Sometimes I want to kill Mario! Zabaleta reveals frustration at maverick Man City team-mate

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UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 4 December 2012

Pablo Zabaleta believes his Manchester City team-mate Mario Balotelli is up there with Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo – but the defender revealed that the Italian drives him mad with frustration.

We have seen the sublime and the ridiculous from Balotelli since his move to England in 2010, but Argentina international Zabaleta is confident that the striker is destined to reach the top.

'Since Mario arrived he has done positive and negative things,' Zabaleta told Omnisport.

Livewire: Mario Balotelli keeps his Manchester City team-mates on their toes

Livewire: Mario Balotelli keeps his Manchester City team-mates on their toes

'He is a player, a person too, who is very difficult to understand because you never know what he is going to come up with next.

'As a player, sometimes not all you have in the feet you have in the head, and Mario is a character that, as a team-mate, sometimes you laugh at what he does and sometimes you want to kill him. But in the end he is a great person.

'As a player he has a great talent. I don't know if he would be fighting for the Ballon d'Or with Messi and Ronaldo but he would be close to being one of the best strikers in the world.

'As a player, as I said before, he has done good and bad things at this club, but I think there is nobody better than (City manager) Roberto (Mancini), who had him at Inter and brought him here, to make Mario able to be mentally prepared to want to carry on growing.'

Former Espanyol man Zabaleta also revealed his admiration for Mancini.

'I think that Roberto is a manager that arrived at the club with the mission of consolidating the project that Manchester City started in 2008,' he said.

City boys: Pablo Zabaleta (2nd left) enjoys playing with Balotelli - most of the time

City boys: Pablo Zabaleta (2nd left) enjoys playing with Balotelli – most of the time

'The club hadn't won practically anything in 44 years and it was possible to win important titles like the FA Cup and the Premier League last year, and I think the people of Manchester City acknowledge Mancini's work.

'What he has done so far is great, but once you achieve these important things you have to stay the same, trying to consolidate this great project by winning more titles.

'Mancini is the manager and the people have given their backing to him, especially after the matches against Real Madrid and Chelsea.

'Right now he is the manager and he will know how to work in the future.'

Big up the boss: Zabaleta has nothing but praise for Roberto Mancini

Big up the boss: Zabaleta has nothing but praise for Roberto Mancini

Kevin Pietersen has wet shave in India ahead of third Test

KP's close shave: After visit to barbers in India, let's hope he delivers another smooth performance!

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UPDATED:

11:16 GMT, 28 November 2012

It was thought Kevin Pietersen would have a close shave against India's spin bowlers in Mumbai, but after scoring 186 magnificent runs to set up an historic win for England, the maverick batsman decided to live life on the edge at the barbers.

The often-stubbled 32-year-old opted to go in for what he described on Twitter as a 'lazy shave' ahead of next week's third Test in Kolkata, and he duly posted a picture of himself being shorn with cut-throat razor alongside the tweet.

Cutting edge: Pietersen goes under the knife in India

Cutting edge: Pietersen goes under the knife in India

England fans will be hoping that the shave doesn't have the Samson effect on Pietersen, because if Pietersen continues to bat as he did in Mumbai, Alastair Cook's men surely have a chance of taking a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

Following this week's 10-wicket win Matt Prior posted a picture of Pietersen enjoying a beer with his team-mates on Twitter, with the accompanying word 'reintegration complete'.

Reintegrated: Pietersen celebrates the win in Mumbai with his team-mates

Reintegrated: Pietersen celebrates the win in Mumbai with his team-mates

Reintegrated: Pietersen celebrates the win in Mumbai with his team-mates

It is certainly refreshing to see Pietersen enjoying himself in the company of his team-mates again.

Long may it continue.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic overhead kick: An apology by Dominic King

An apology for Zlatan: Dominic King didn't get the hype surrounding the Swedish maverick. He does now…

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UPDATED:

10:35 GMT, 15 November 2012

The observation was made during England’s Euro 2012 showdown with Sweden in the now common form of 140 characters.

With the cameras being drawn frequently to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, I asked on Twitter why was there such fuss about the hulking forward. Throughout his career, I’d never fully understood why he had been central to such headlines and copy.

More fuss was being made of Ibrahimovic than of Andres Iniesta, Barcelona’s midfield magician, who has won all there is to win in the game many times over, scored a winning goal in a World Cup final and spent his career at the one of the great clubs.

Believe the hype: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (centre) has legions of fans... and now his critics know why

Believe the hype: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (centre) has legions of fans… and now his critics know why

What Dominic King said about Zlatan…

Sportsmail's North West football reporter made the following observations about Ibrahimovic on Twitter during England's win over Sweden at Euro 2012 on June 15:

'This is probably another “speak too soon” moment but can anyone else see why Ibrahimovic has moved clubs for so much money in his career

'Remember seeing him at Anfield when he was at Juve. For 60 mins he looked bored, then popped up with a shot that nearly shattered the post.

'He's got talent – I'm not disputing – but, in my opinion, he's had more of fuss made of him than someone like Iniesta, who deserves more.

'I will qualify that by saying Iniesta has helped make Barca & Spain tick yet you rarely hear anything about him. As I said, just my opinion.'

This is not to say I didn’t think Ibrahimovic was a good player. Not at all. The first time I saw him play in the flesh was for Juventus in a Champions League quarter-final at Anfield in 2005, he nearly broke the Kop End goal frame in half with a thunderous, instinctive strike.

There was, however, something I didn’t quite ‘get’ about him and when he moved to Barcelona in 2009, I expressed the view to a Barclays Premier League manager. He agreed. We both felt Barcelona had erred, trading Samuel Eto’o for him.

So, watching him sulk and snarl in Kiev as England, I took to Twitter and observed that his career had been hyped up more than it deserved. Had I suggested Kate Middleton would lose a beauty competition to Grotbags, the reaction would have been more favourable.

Zlatan, clearly, has a lot of fans out there.

Of
course it is hard to argue when facts are presented such as him winning
league titles at every club he has played for, being the only man to
score in the Champions League for six different clubs and the transfer
fees he had commanded.

Until last night, however, I remained sceptical. Not any longer.

Ibrahimovic at Juventus

Ibrahimovic at Barcelona

As good as he thinks he is Ibra had his doubters while at Juventus (left) and Barcelona (right)

Yes, it really did go in: Zlatan's propeller-kick from over 25 yards stunned the football world

Yes, it really did go in: But Zlatan's propeller-kick from 25 yards stunned the football world and won new fans

Never mind the fact that England and Sweden played a friendly last night on a bobbly pitch and that two relatively inexperienced defenders were asked to chaperone him. Ibrahimovic was breathtaking; powerful, dominant and aggressive.

His gravity defying bicycle kick in injury time was scarcely believable and defined his performance but just as good was the nonchalant way he dispatched the first of his four goals. That was the hallmark of a striker playing at the top of his game.

So, Zlatan, it would appear I owe you an apology. The hype was right.

James Anderson: Kevin Pietersen return a big bonus

Pietersen back will be big bonus for England, says Anderson

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UPDATED:

20:39 GMT, 27 October 2012

Kevin Pietersen will be welcomed back into the England Test squad in the small hours of Monday without a backward glance, according to James Anderson, one of those accused by some of conspiring to destroy the maverick batsman's career.

Pietersen, dropped by England for the final Test of the summer series against South Africa after sending provocative texts about captain Andrew Strauss to opposing players, was originally omitted from the squad to tour India.

Together again: Captain Cook (left) and Pietersen

Together again: Captain Cook (left) and Pietersen

But he has completed a 'reintegration process' in a series of face-to-face meetings with senior players, including Anderson.

Now he is set to fly from London to
Mumbai after playing in the Champions League in South Africa, touching
down at 2.30am, half-an-hour before England fly in from their camp in
Dubai.

Only hours later the four- Test
series will officially be launched by new skipper Alastair Cook, who led
efforts to smooth the passage back for Pietersen, and coach Andy
Flower, who many believe may not have worked so hard had the decision
been entirely his.

Captain and coach are bound to be
bombarded by questions about their latest arrival but Pietersen is
expected to walk straight back into the team for the first match,
against India A at the Brabourne Stadium, starting on Tuesday.

When he does, Anderson believes he
will do so not only with the slate wiped clean but also with the events
that might have brought an end to his England career consigned to
history.

Anderson who, along with Stuart Broad
and Graeme Swann, was accused of upsetting Pietersen by contributing to
the parody Twitter account KP Genius, said: 'The reason for
having the meetings with him in England was to make sure that, when we
did meet up in India, we could just concentrate on the cricket with the
matter closed.

'I won't go into details about what
was said but the intention was to clear the air, for people to get
issues off their chest if they wanted to and for Kevin to get issues off
his chest if he had any with the players.

'We've done that, a line has been
drawn and we move on. This is a tough tour and victory here would be an
achievement on a par with our Ashes win in Australia in 10-11.

'No England team has won a series
here since 1984-85 and India have lost only two series at home in 30
years. The conditions are foreign and there are going to be big
challenges.

'So having Kevin back is a big
bonus. We need our best players on the field. Kevin is one of our best
players. I'm delighted everything has been sorted out so he can join us
and contribute to regaining the No 1 Test status.'

Anderson's view is more optimistic than that expressed this week by Strauss, who warned the reconciliation will be tough.

Strauss said: 'If, behind the scenes,
things are difficult and resentment is harboured and if KP is not fully
committed to England, there are going to be problems.

'Everyone has to want it to happen
desperately, let bygones be bygones and not have any grudges or
bitterness. Everyone has to move forward for all the right reasons.
That's the question-mark.'

Mario Balotelli latest: Roberto Mancini has "endless" patience with striker

My patience with Balotelli is endless! Mancini admits he has soft spot for Mario

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 21 September 2012

Roberto Mancini insists his patience with volatile Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is 'endless'.

Balotelli is expected to return to the squad for Sunday's visit of Arsenal after he was left out for the Champions League defeat at Real Madrid in midweek.

When City last met the Gunners in April a 1-0 defeat looked to have killed off their title hopes, Balotelli was sent off on 90 minutes and made a studs-up challenge on Alex Song that was missed by referee Martin Atkinson.

The trip: Mario Balotelli jokes about with James Milner

The trip: Mario Balotelli jokes about with James Milner

The push: Balotelli is pushed by Milner

The push: Balotelli is pushed by Milner

The make up: Balotelli hugs Millner

The make up: Balotelli hugs Millner

‘I thought it would be a six-game ban
after that game,’ admitted Mancini. ‘Three for the red card and three
for what he did to Song.’

Asked if he had been ready to wash his hands of the player, a smiling Mancini replied: ‘My patience with him is endless.’

What row Roberto Mancini insists he is absolutely fine with Balotelli

What row Roberto Mancini insists he is absolutely fine with Balotelli

Ready to go: Balotelli trains ahead of Sunday's game with Arsenal

Ready to go: Balotelli trains ahead of Sunday's game with Arsenal

No rift: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini claims there are no issues with him and Balotelli

No rift: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini claims there are no issues with him and Balotelli

Mancini confirmed the 22-year-old was upset over his omission in Madrid.

He said: ‘He was upset. It’s normal that a player who can’t play in the Bernabeu is unhappy.

Sometimes an important player like Mario or James Milner must sit in the stands.

‘It’s important the players understand this.’

It was believed that Mancini is fed
up with Balotelli's wild ways – including his smoking habit – and was
fast losing patience with the maverick 22-year-old, but Mancini played
down talk of a rift.

'There has been no argument, and no row. Absolutely not,' he said.

'Mario went in the stand only because
we started to play with Carlos Tevez in attack and we couldn't have
three strikers on the bench.'

Balotelli partied until the early
hours after Saturday's 1-1 draw at Stoke. He was pictured with boxer
Amir Khan on a night out at Circle Club in Manchester.

Mancini was said to be angry as he wanted the forward to rest ahead of their opening European match against the Spanish giants.

As a punishment, Balotelli was
ordered to travel to the Bernabeu despite reportedly being told he
wouldn't play a part before stepping on the plane.

Another growing concern for Mancini is Balotelli's smoking habit – infuriating for a club that pay him over 100,000 per week.

Bad habit: Balotelli has regularly been spotted smoking away from training and matches

Bad habit: Balotelli has regularly been spotted smoking away from training and matches

Good example: Balotelli has also been pictured smoking in his Man City gear

Good example: Balotelli has also been pictured smoking in his Man City gear

Partying: Balotelli (right) was pictured with Amir Khan at the Circle Club on Saturday

Partying: Balotelli (right) was pictured with Amir Khan at the Circle Club on Saturday

Mario Balotelli bust-up with Roberto Mancini denied by Manchester City boss

Me and Mario are fine… honest! Mancini gives Balotelli ANOTHER lifeline despite rift

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UPDATED:

10:40 GMT, 21 September 2012

Mario Balotelli has been handed another lifeline at Manchester City after manager Roberto Mancini insisted he has NOT had a bust-up with the controversial striker.

The Italy international was dropped from City's European squad in mid-week and was forced to watch their 3-2 Champions league defeat to Real Madrid from the stands.

It was believed that Mancini is fed up with Balotelli's wild ways – including his smoking habit – and is fast losing patience with the maverick 22-year-old.

What row Roberto Mancini insists he is absolutely fine with striker Mario Balotelli

What row Roberto Mancini insists he is absolutely fine with striker Mario Balotelli

Under pressure: Mario Balotelli takes his seat in the stand at Real Madrid

Under pressure: Mario Balotelli takes his seat in the stand at Real Madrid

Under pressure: Mario Balotelli takes his seat in the stand at Real Madrid after being axed

But speaking at his weekly press
conference at the club's Carrington training ground, Mancini played down
talk of a rift between the pair.

'There has been no argument, and no row. Absolutely not,' he said.

'Mario went in the stand only because
we started to play with Carlos Tevez in attack and we couldn't have
three strikers on the bench.'

Bad habit: Balotelli has regularly been spotted smoking away from training and matches

Bad habit: Balotelli has regularly been spotted smoking away from training and matches

Good example: Balotelli has also been pictured smoking in his Man City gear

Good example: Balotelli has also been pictured smoking in his Man City gear

Partying: Balotelli (right) was pictured with Amir Khan at the Circle Club on Saturday

Partying: Balotelli (right) was pictured with Amir Khan at the Circle Club on Saturday

Balotelli partied until the early
hours after Saturday's 1-1 draw at Stoke. He was pictured with boxer
Amir Khan on a night out at Circle Club in Manchester.

Mancini was said to be angry as he wanted the forward to rest ahead of their opening European match against the Spanish giants.

As a punishment, Balotelli was
ordered to travel to the Bernabeu despite reportedly being told he
wouldn't play a part before stepping on the plane.

Acting tough: Roberto Mancini pictured in Alderley Edge on Wednesday afternoon

Acting tough: Roberto Mancini pictured in Alderley Edge on Wednesday afternoon

Another growing concern for Mancini is Balotelli's smoking habit – infuriating for a club that pay him over 100,000 per week.

Although it is not known just how
much the former Inter Milan star smokes, he has regularly been pictured
puffing on a cigarette away from his job.

Despite his apparent frustrations,
Mancini appears intent on giving Balotelli yet another chance and the
striker is in contention to return to the City side for this Sunday's
Barclays Premier League visit of unbeaten Arsenal.

Mario Balotelli must stop partying and smoking, warns Roberto Mancini

Quit the partying and fags… or your future at City is up in smoke, Mancini warns Balotelli

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UPDATED:

08:40 GMT, 20 September 2012

Mario Balotelli has had another bust-up with boss Roberto Mancini over his lifestyle.

The Manchester City striker was left out of the squad for Tuesday's Champions League defeat at Real Madrid.

Mancini is fed up with Balotelli's wild ways – including his smoking habit – and is fast losing patience with the maverick Italian.

Under pressure: Mario Balotelli takes his seat in the stand at Real Madrid

Under pressure: Mario Balotelli takes his seat in the stand at Real Madrid

Under pressure: Mario Balotelli takes his seat in the stand at Real Madrid after being axed

Balotelli partied until the early hours after Saturday's 1-1 draw at Stoke. He was pictured with boxer Amir Khan on a night out at Circle Club in Manchester.

Mancini was angry as he wanted Balotelli to rest after the Stoke match ahead of their opening European match against the Spanish giants.

As a punishment, Balotelli was forced to travel to the Bernabeu despite being told he wouldn't play a part before stepping on the plane.

Bad habit: Balotelli has regularly been spotted smoking away from training and matches

Bad habit: Balotelli has regularly been spotted smoking away from training and matches

Good example: Balotelli has also been pictured smoking in his Man City gear

Good example: Balotelli has also been pictured smoking in his Man City gear

Partying: Balotelli (right) was pictured with Amir Khan at the Circle Club on Saturday

Partying: Balotelli (right) was pictured with Amir Khan at the Circle Club on Saturday

Another growing concern for Mancini is Balotelli's smoking habit – infuriating for a club that pay him over 100,000 per week.

Although it is not known just how much Balotelli smokes, he has regularly been pictured puffing on a cigarette away from his job.

Mancini has been left frustrated at Balotelli's refusal to have counselling sessions or hypnosis to help kick the habit.

A source told the Daily Star: 'Mario Balotelli is in the bad books on two fronts – a very late night out after the Stoke game and his refusal to stop smoking. He and Mancini had words on Monday afternoon and it led to him being dropped from the squad.'

Acting tough: Roberto Mancini pictured in Alderley Edge on Wednesday afternoon

Acting tough: Roberto Mancini pictured in Alderley Edge on Wednesday afternoon

Despite Balotelli's long list of mistakes, Mancini has kept faith with a player he regards as one of the world's best.

Since arriving from Inter Milan in a 24million deal in 2010, Balotelli has regularly caught the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

As well as being a regular on the Manchester party scene, he also caused a fire at his house after friends let off fireworks in a bathroom.

It now appears that Mancini is slowly coming to the conclusion that he may be better off without Balotelli.

Premier League watch, with Jamie Redknapp: Eden Hazard caused havoc

Hazard caused havoc as the Premier League returned with goals, goals, goals

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 19 August 2012

Eden Project

When Eden Hazard has the ball, his first thought is: ‘How can I create some havoc here’ He drives at defenders with pace and he is into the danger zone before you can stop him.

He set up Chelsea’s first and won the penalty for their second and, until he started to over-elaborate in the second half, he was delightful to watch. More please.

That's what you pay the money for: Eden Hazard was class on his debut

That's what you pay the money for: Eden Hazard was class on his debut

Made in England

Still wishing we had the Olympics instead of the Barclays Premier League We’ve had 26 goals in nine league games on the opening weekend of the top flight and was there a better one than Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City coming from behind to win 3-2 against a bold Southampton team

Rickie can be tricky

Eyebrows were raised when Rickie Lambert was left out of the starting team for Southampton on Sunday. The lad knows where the goal is and he proved that when he came on. That was a delicious finish.

He can step up into this league and I said he needed an early goal. One of many stars for Southampton. They were fearless.

Head boy: James Collins was welcomed back to West Ham, and instantly proved his worth

Head boy: James Collins was welcomed back to West Ham, and instantly proved his worth

Get your head on James

If you can keep him fit, James Collins is a terrific defender. Brave, strong and powerful, he was welcomed back at Upton Park on Saturday — and delivered a very good performance in front of a packed house. He will give West Ham some power at the back and will weigh in with goals too. A good signing.

Hats of to Pardew

What a player Hatem Ben Arfa is and well done to Alan Pardew for bringing the best out of him. Some managers would reckon him too much trouble, but Pardew has convinced the France midfielder to buy into Newcastle’s work ethic and he is a maverick who can win games, as he did against Spurs.

G-Owen for nothing

Joining Chris Kamara live on Sunday morning for his excellent Goals on Sunday programme, I spoke with Michael Owen. I can’t work out why he was sitting on the couch with Chris when he should be playing football. Michael will score goals and he’s only 32. Someone has to sign him on a free!

Nice to Michu: Swansea's new boy announced himself with two goals at QPR

Nice to Michu: Swansea's new boy announced himself with two goals at QPR

Michu's masterclass

Swansea signed Michu under the radar. Aged 26, he has a record of one in five in Spain and hit the net 15 times last season in a struggling team. He looks to be a find for Michael Laudrup. He scored the first Premier League goal of the season and grew in confidence. For that he is my star of the weekend.

Made in Japan

Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney will dovetail well, but don’t forget Manchester United’s other signing, Japanese attacker Shinji Kagawa. I’m telling you, he is a player and he will love to pick RVP’s runs with his passing.

Kevin Pietersen faces England axe after row over texts to South Africans

EXCLUSIVE: Pietersen faces England axe after row over texts to South Africans

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 10 August 2012


Too close Kevin Pietersen (right) and Graeme Smith

Too close Kevin Pietersen (right) and Graeme Smith

Kevin Pietersen's international career is hanging by a thread after England reacted furiously to news that he sent texts to South Africa players during the second Test.

The ECB launched an immediate inquiry after Sportsmail revealed that Pietersen, an increasingly isolated figure within the England team, had made 'less than flattering' comments about Andrew Strauss and other team-mates in text messages to Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers.

The development, described by an ECB source as ‘the most serious yet’ involving Pietersen, will bring his place in the do-or-die final Test at Lord’s next week into question even though the gifted maverick played one of the best innings of his life in the drawn second Test at Headingley.

The selectors met on Friday night to choose their squad for a Test that England must win to retain their world No 1 status and they have to decide now whether Pietersen’s position within the team has become untenable, however much his batting would be missed at Lord’s. It is a huge dilemma.

England contacted the South African management over the scandal and were told by officials that the texts were definitely sent, though the tourists attempted to distance themselves from the issue by maintaining the content of them was ‘just banter’.

Sportsmail understands they were stronger than that.

South Africa’s reluctance to get involved will make it difficult for the ECB to prove misconduct on Pietersen’s part but feelings are running so high at Lord’s that the selectors could decide the time is right to sever their ties with a man who has endured an increasingly rocky ride with his adopted country.

Big call: England may leave out Pietersen at Lord's despite his brilliant batting

Big call: England may leave out Pietersen at Lord's despite his brilliant batting

Pietersen said after receiving his man-of-the-match award at Leeds that the final Test could be his last, citing problems within the dressing room as the latest issue that has disillusioned him after previously complaining about the crowded international schedules.

He retired from one-day cricket earlier this season and has barely been on speaking terms with many of his England team-mates for some time. At Headingley he was a man apart, spending time with the South Africans when both teams were on the field.

Stuart Broad, England’s Twenty20 captain, became the first player to break his silence on the affair this week when he said: ‘If there is a problem here then it needs to be sorted out quickly’, and team director Andy Flower will be desperate to maintain the team spirit that has been integral to their rise.

Farewell England's star batsman may have played his final Test match

Farewell England's star batsman may have played his final Test match

England may decide to pick Pietersen now and ask him to explain himself, possibly even in public, before deciding after Lord’s whether to carry on with their plan to offer him a Test-only contract for the next year, which would mean including him in their plans for the next Ashes.

Yet that would mean Pietersen, 32, committing to England’s home Test series against New Zealand next May which clashes in part with the Indian Premier League he is desperate to embrace fully. He sees himself as fighting a battle for future England players to be able to cash in on a full IPL season.

Meanwhile, Rory Hamilton-Brown has quit as Surrey captain. Last week he returned to the game following a break after the death of team-mate and friend Tom Maynard in June.