Kevin Pietersen holds the key to whether he ever plays for England again, England coach Andy Flower said yesterday.
The South Africa-born all-rounder’s omission from England’s defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown, and the squad to face his native country in five one-day internationals and three Twenty20s this month and next, was confirmed yesterday.
Andy Flower confirmed too that, until Pietersen speaks face-to-face with his England and Wales Cricket Board employers and management, no progress can be made for his possible re-integration into the team in any format.
England are understood to be significantly concerned about the exact content of text messages Pietersen sent to opposition players during the drawn Test against South Africa at Headingley.
Flower yesterday made it clear the text messages are not the only issue in a “very sad situation”.
Pietersen’s contract wrangles with the ECB — specifically over his initial wish, since retracted, to play a full Indian Premier League season next year at a time when England have Test match obligations — have been ongoing all summer, and brought his retirement from all international limited-overs cricket three months ago.
That position has also been revised, but many fear that at the age of just 32 Pietersen may effectively have called time on his England career. Moments after they were announced, Flower voiced his regret that Pietersen had effectively made his position in the England team untenable.
“It’s a very sad situation for everyone involved,” he said. “He played superbly at the last Twenty20 World Cup, but the circumstances that exist at the moment mean he can’t be selected for us.
“There are still unresolved issues, and we will be addressing those issues when we have time to do so.”
Flower added: “Let me be clear — this is not just an issue between the captain and Kevin. There are deeper issues, certainly of trust and mutual respect that need to be addressed.
There are unresolved issues that have reared their heads in recent weeks, and they have to be resolved before there is any way forward. You resolve these issues face-to-face with people, not through PR agencies. If this matter is going to get resolved, that is how it's going to have to be.
“Andrew Strauss and I have worked very closely and very well together over the years, and we will continue to do so over this issue.”