ECB confirm new Pietersen contract
England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke has confirmed that Kevin Pietersen has agreed a new England central contract.
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The ECB hope Pietersen can return to the England team on completion of a "reintegration process".
Clarke, speaking at a joint press conference with Pietersen in Colombo, said: "Kevin will be engaged in a reintegration process which has already started today with a lengthy discussion with me."
The reintegration programme will be overseen by England team director Andy Flower, beginning during the remainder of this month, and he will report back to the ECB hierarchy on when he thinks Pietersen is ready to return to the England team.
Clarke added: "Kevin has signed a contract with the ECB today. The central contract is for a period of time and, on conclusion of the programme, will be extended until the 30th of September this coming year (2013)."
Pietersen read out a statement in which he apologised for recent events and committed himself to playing for England in all formats until at least the 2015 World Cup.
He said: "I would like to take this oppourtuntity to apologise to my team-mates, all the England supporters and the ECB for the situation that has arisen over the past months. Thankfully we can draw a line under it now and move forwards."
Pietersen, who admitted in August that he had sent "provocative" messages to members of the South Africa team, was last month not included among the 10 centrally contracted players announced by the ECB for the 2012-13 season and left out of England's Test squad to tour India.
He is still hoping, however, that he can be added to the party to travel to India at the end of this month.
"It's been a horrible situation for all involved," he said. "I am happy we are moving forward for a better result, I hope, for England cricket."
Asked if he thought he may still travel to India, Pietersen added: "I hope so. I want to play for England as soon as I can.
"The process has started really well and I believe that, all being well, I'll be back in an England shirt as soon as possible.
"I really do believe that we have got a very good opportunity here for everything to be sorted.
"We're all human beings; we all make mistakes. I've apologised for them."
Clarke took great care to spell out the values and ethics by which the ECB live, and expect their employees to uphold.
"In our society, we believe that if an individual transgresses - and the individual concerned recognises that and apologises for what they may have caused to those involved - then it is important, and a fabric of our society, that that individual should be given a real opportunity to be reintegrated into our society," he said.
"This principle is an essential part of having civilised and sensible ethics. Kevin has apologised."
The practicalities of Pietersen and Flower finding the necessary time together are compromised by the South Africa-born batsman's schedule.
He must complete his duties as a broadcast pundit at the World Twenty20 - the final is on Sunday, in Colombo - and is then due to fly to his native country to play for the Delhi Daredevils in the Champions League.
Clarke nonetheless added: "Kevin will be engaged in a reintegration process, which has already started today with a lengthy meeting with me - and the process will continue during October.
"Andy Flower will determine the progress of this process and he will advise the board when he believes the dressing room, England management and Kevin himself are ready for Kevin to be reconsidered for selection.
"That could be very soon, or much later."
Pietersen has ceded already to the ECB stipulation that he apologise for his behaviour, specifically to former Test captain Andrew Strauss.
He duly did so, and the ECB have accepted in good faith his assurance there were no ''derogatory'' references to Strauss - or tactical briefing against his own team - in his text messages.
"I'd just like to take this opportunity to apologise to my team-mates, all England supporters and the ECB for the situation that has arisen over the last couple of months,'' he said.
"It's been a horrible situation for all involved. But thankfully we have drawn a line under it. Playing cricket for England is the pinnacle of any cricketer's career, and I want an opportunity to do that again as soon as possible.
"Some of the proudest and best moments of my life have been in an England shirt, and I want them to continue for as long as possible.
"I'm entirely committed to completing the re-integration process we have agreed...and resuming my England career in all formats, I hope, until the World Cup in 2015 - as long as my body allows.
"I want my son growing up seeing me playing for England and I hope one day he'll put an England shirt on himself."
Clarke made it clear the ECB have every good intention of trying to achieve Pietersen's return.
"The England team director has himself determined the start of this process,'' he said.
"We would not be entering into this process if the England team director, England team management and everybody at the ECB was not as fully committed to this process as Kevin is.
"I'm here as chairman of the board to make it clear to you all that the board are unanimous in supporting this process.''