KP apologises for 'provocative' texts

  • Last Updated: August 15 2012, 13:05 BST

Kevin Pietersen has issued an apology after admitting to sending 'provocative' text messages to members of the South Africa team, the England and Wales Cricket Board have confirmed.

Kevin Pietersen: Sent 'provocative' text messages

Pietersen was dropped by England for this week's third Test against the Proteas after failing to confirm publicly last weekend that no derogatory texts about his team-mates had been sent to South African players during the second Test, or if they had been sent, to apologise for them.

Pietersen has now apologised in a statement released by the ECB.

"I did send what you might call provocative texts to my close friends in the SA team. The texts were meant as banter between close friends."

"I need to rein myself in sometimes. I apologise to Straussy and the team for the inappropriate remarks at the press conference and for the texts. I truly didn't mean to cause upset or tension particularly with important games at stake."

England managing director Hugh Morris said: "We are in receipt of Kevin's apology, but further discussions need to take place to establish whether it is possible to regain the trust and mutual respect required to ensure all parties are able to focus on playing cricket and to maintain the unity of purpose that has served us so well in recent years. Critically, those discussions should take place behind closed doors, rather than in the media spotlight.

"A successful conclusion to this process is in everyone's best interests and is required for Kevin Pietersen's potential selection in all forms of the game to be considered.

"At the moment we have an important Investec Test match to focus on and therefore ECB will make no further comment until such time as is appropriate."

England trail 1-0 in the three-match series and will lose top spot in the world rankings if they fail to win the final Test against South Africa, which begins at Lord's on Thursday.

Pietersen's international future has been the centre of speculation since the end of the drawn Headingley Test last week.

It was there that the 32-year-old played one of his best innings - a man-of-the-match 149 - and became the quickest batsman in Test history to top 7,000 runs.

But he left Leeds under a cloud, after a post-match press conference in which he hinted at dressing-room unrest and refused to give assurances that the Lord's Test would not be his last.

It subsequently emerged he was perturbed by a parody Twitter account and the possibility that his team-mates - among the followers of a feed since closed down - might somehow be associated with the mocking tone, sending up his personality and behaviour.

There was then the further revelation that he sent texts to opposition players in the thick of a high-profile series against his native country.

He made it clear, in an interview broadcast on YouTube on Saturday night, that he had seen the error of his ways and had decided playing cricket for England was more important than other issues.

Crucially, however, he did not address the matter of the text messages and on Sunday - after being given an extra five hours by the England selectors to make a public declaration about the issue - he was omitted from the 13-man squad for the final Test with Jonny Bairstow taking his place.