England's Kevin Pietersen Issues 'Apology' Over Andrew Strauss Texts

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KEVIN PIETERSEN
Pietersen has had a terrific and turbulent England career | PA

Kevin Pietersen has sent an apology to the ECB for text messages he sent to South African players about England Test captain Andrew Strauss.

Although the maverick batsman has taken the first steps to showing contrition for breaking dressing room protocol, the ECB are reportedly awaiting a wholehearted and more public apology from the former England captain.

Pietersen's agent, Adam Wheatley, sent a private message detailing his client's penitence after he was dropped for the final Test against South Africa at Lord's.

The ECB demoted the 88-times capped Test international after Pietersen refused to disclose what was detailed in text messages brushed off by South Africa as "banter".

Strauss, who is playing his hundredth Test against South Africa on Thursday, told Sky Sports on Tuesday evening: “I’ve always got on very well with Kevin. I’ve tried to be honest with him, and he’s been honest with me. That’s why this has all been a bit of a surprise.

“The discontent Kevin had with the board over his contract situation is one that the players didn’t get involved in; I didn’t really get involved in it. But over the last week, I’ve had to get involved as there were issues that were more central to the other ­players and our ability to perform out in the middle."

Strauss added he was a "big believer in not airing dirty laundry in public", which has not been Pietersen's forte during a terrific yet turbulent international career. He was fined in May this year for criticising Sky Sports pundit Nick Knight and drew dismay from chairman of selectors Geoff Miller when he accidentally tweeted a message which was intended to be a direct message in 2010.

Skipper Strauss may also need to converse with spin bowler Graeme Swann, who again aimed a thinly-veiled dig at Pietersen in his Sun column on Tuesday, having last year questioned Pietersen's promotion to England captain in 2008 in his autobiography.

News that Richard Bailey, a friend of Stuart Broad, was behind the Pietersen parody Twitter account which was closed last week also forced Broad to release a statement on Tuesday night clarifying he was not involved with the tweets which played on Pietersen's egotistical image.

Pietersen, 31, expressed his hurt to the ECB at the content of the 140-character messages, even though he interacted with, and retweeted certain tweets.

Broad said: “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 parody account down."

England must win the third Test at Lord's - starting Thursday - without Pietersen, who hit a first-innings 149 to be named man of the match in the second Test at Headingley, to tie the series.

They have not beaten South Africa on home soil in a Test series since 1998, while Proteas captain Graeme Smith is now undefeated against a third English captain, having gone head-to-head with Nasser Hussain in 2003 and Michael Vaughan in 2008. Hussain resigned after the first drawn Test while Vaughan quit after the series.

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