Strauss won’t go into bat for Kev
KP set for long stint in the cold
ANDREW STRAUSS refused to guarantee Kevin Pietersen could return to the England side after he broke the trust of his team-mates with his “provocative texts”.
Pietersen was dropped for today’s series decider against South Africa at Lord’s, which doubles as Strauss’ 100th Test, after failing to reveal the content of text messages he sent to members of the touring team during the second Test.
The talented but temperamental batsman has since apologised for the “provocative texts to my close friends in the South Africa team”, while the England and Wales Cricket Board plan further talks with Pietersen to determine his international future.
However, Strauss does not anticipate that process to be quick, if they allow him to return at all.
“We all want to move forward but there are some ongoing issues regarding trust and mutual respect that don’t get dealt with overnight and it’s going to take quite a long time to overcome those,” the skipper said. “Who knows what’s going to happen in the future? “I’m not willing to state one way or another if it’s going to be possible or impossible on that matter.”
If the Pietersen saga hadn’t already taken the gloss off Strauss’ remarkable milestone - he will be the ninth Englishman to play 100 Tests - not getting a victory most certainly will.
South Africa hold a 1-0 lead and England must level the series to prevent the Proteas from replacing them at the top of the rankings.
SMITH WARY OF OUTSIDE INFLUENCE
SOUTH AFRICA captain Graeme Smith believes the Kevin Pietersen debacle could hurt his side just as much as England and has urged the Proteas to focus on closing out the series at Lord’s.
“We cannot lose focus and worry about what’s happening in their dressing room - we’ve been pretty focused for getting prepared, our preparation is good and that’s what we’ve been focusing on,” said Smith, who will become the most capped Test captain in history today. “England is full of good cricketers and we need to respect that.”