Clearly, South Africa’s task is easier if England’s leading batsman is not playing but Smith, who has had plenty of run-ins with Pietersen in the past, insisted his team had not initiated the row, although the awkward question of how the texts got into the public arena remains.
“For us to be dragged into this has been disappointing,” Smith said yesterday.
“I heard (former England captain) Mike Atherton wrote a column about it saying we did it on purpose. That’s the biggest load of rubbish I have heard. I can’t believe it has got to that point.”