Strauss thought he and Pietersen always had a healthy relationship
England Test captain Andrew Strauss has revealed that he is shocked with the ongoing row between Kevin Pietersen and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after Pietersen was dropped for the final Test against South Africa at Lord’s.
Pietersen was dropped after it was found that he sent derogatory text messages about Strauss and England coach Andy Flower to South African pace bowler Dale Steyn and wicketkeeper AB de Villiers during the second Test at Headingley.
Speaking exclusively on Sky Sports, Strauss said: “I’ve always got on with Kevin, I’ve tried to be honest with him; he’s been honest with me. That’s why this has all been a bit of a surprise to me. I think the discontent that Kevin had with the (England and Wales Cricket) Board over his contract situation was one that the players didn’t get involved in – and I didn’t really get involved in, if I’m honest. But over the last week I have had to get involved, because there have been issues a little bit more central to his relationship with the other players and our ability to perform out in the middle.”
After the second Test, Pietersen shocked the cricketing community by stating that he may retire from international cricket, but via a staged interview on YouTube, Pietersen admitted that he still wanted to represent England in the future.
Former England captain Alec Stewart told the BBC that he had heard Pietersen apologise to the ECB over the text messages incident.
“I’m hearing he’s now apologised but hasn’t had any confirmation back from the ECB,” Stewart said.
Meanwhile, South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis believes that England will find it tough to move on without a batsman like Pietersen.
“He’s a world-class player and he’s proven that over many years – putting in big performances for England – so I’m sure he’s going to be missed, I don’t think it will affect him, I think he’ll bounce back and I think he’s still got a lot of cricket ahead of him. He’s too good a player to stay out of the international scene,” Kallis told Sky Sports.
However, England off-spinner Graeme Swann believes that the team would benefit without Pietersen.
Writing his own column in The Sun, Swann said: “Just because you lose one player it doesn’t necessarily make you a weaker team, we all need to be pulling in the same direction – not 10 of us doing it and one of us not.”
Swann had also noted that England’s limited overs record had improved significantly since Pietersen decided to retire from ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.
“Since Kevin retired from limited-overs cricket we are unbeaten in all matches in the shorter formats,” Swann added.
Swann’s comments were echoed by his team-mate Tim Bresnan, who believes that England could actually be a better side without Pietersen in the lineup.
“It may be an even better side. It’s one of those things where a talented player has been replaced by another talented player. Why should we miss certain individuals just because they’re not available for selection?”, Bresnan said.
However, Bresnan noted that there was no change in attitude amongst the England players, and said: “We met up yesterday, the mood in the camp was exceptional. It’s just like it always is. Always relaxed, quite focused, but we’ve always got the driving desire to get that win.”
Pietersen’s relationship with some of his England team-mates have become extremely frosty after he suspected them of launching a parody Twitter account about him.
But, England pace bowler Stuart Broad issued a statement via the ECB website (www.ecb.co.uk) and stated that he was in no way involved with the fake Twitter account.
“Following last night’s statement by Mr Richard Bailey that he was responsible for creating a fake Twitter account in Kevin Pietersen’s name, I would like to confirm that I had no involvement in this whatsoever. I met with the Managing Director – England Cricket, Hugh Morris, this morning and assured him that I did not play any role in the creation of this account or provide Mr Bailey with any information regarding Kevin Pietersen or the England team. As has been widely reported Mr Bailey is a friend of mine, but we had no conversations regarding this issue at all and I am pleased that he has now decided to close the fake account down,” the statement issued by Broad said.
Morris later posted on the website that he was “fully satisfied” with Broad’s comments.