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Pietersen set for England talks after apology

ESPNcricinfo staff
August 15, 2012

Kevin Pietersen's chances of being reconciled with the England set-up and winning a place in their World Twenty20 squad appear to have receded after the ECB and Andrew Strauss confirmed that further discussions between the parties were needed, despite Pietersen's apology for sending "provocative" texts.

Strauss, England's captain and the subject of the allegedly derogatory texts sent by Pietersen to members of the South Africa squad, said "underlying issues on trust and respect" had to be addressed but that this was likely to take place after the third Test against South Africa, for which Pietersen has been dropped. The deadline for England to submit their World T20 squad is Saturday, the third day of the Test, suggesting that Pietersen will not be recalled, as he desires.

After the ECB confirmed the receipt of Pietersen's apology, Strauss said that there were "broader issues" to be dealt with and that Pietersen's presence for the Lord's Test "would have been untenable in the dressing room for this game".

"It's about the team and Kevin and how we interact with each other," Strauss said, while admitting it was "not just a one-way process".

"The truth is a lot has happened over the last seven days," Strauss said. "The England team has been in the news for the wrong reasons. We all want to move forward but there are some underlying issues on trust and respect that don't get dealt with over night and it's going to take quite a long time to overcome those. My personal view is that they should get dealt with in private, away from the media.

"It's a first step, there's a lot more to investigate with all of this. If there is a way forward, those issues regarding trust and mutual respect have to be dealt with - not just a one-way process - and they need to be dealt with behind closed doors.

"It's been hanging over us since Kevin's press conference after the Headingley Test match. There was a certain amount of relief on Monday that a decision had been made and we can focus on Test. The challenge this week has been to not let it affect us on the field."

Discussions have been ongoing between the ECB and Pietersen's representatives after the batsman was omitted from the England side for the third Test against South Africa. Pietersen was dropped for refusing to apologise for the texts, which he has now admitted sending, despite the ECB demanding it as a condition of his selection for the third Test.

In a statement, England managing director, Hugh Morris, 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 Investec Test match to focus on and therefore ECB will make no further comment until such time as is appropriate."

South Africa had publicly described the text interactions as "banter", a word Pietersen echoed in his apology, whilst acknowledging the "upset and tension" the situation had caused.

In the same ECB statement, Pietersen said: "I did send what you might call provocative texts to my close friends in the SA 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."

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