Pietersen's England career could be over after text row

Aug 13, 2012

Batsman dropped from Test team the day after he makes himself available for all formats of cricket

KEVIN PIETERSEN'S England career may have come to a messy end after he was dropped for the final Test against South Africa a day after announcing that he was making himself available for England in all forms of cricket.

The batsman, who retired from one-day internationals earlier in the season, is at the centre of an ugly row over claims he sent text messages, critical of his England team mates, to two South African players during the current Test series.

"It is the kind of thing any disgruntled team-mate could fire off to a mate in the opposition after a frustrating day’s play but Pietersen has been testing the patience of England’s dressing room for a while and there is a sense that these allegations are probably the tipping point," reports The Daily Telegraph.

Pietersen was in sparkling form in the second Test against South Africa, and his flamboyant first innings of 149 probably saved England from defeat. Yet the row over his off-field conduct means he has been overlooked for what is England's biggest match of the year and one they must win to maintain their position as the number one Test side in the world.

"The decision to omit Pietersen is a real statement by the selectors - and one backed by the board - that the team comes first. Until he demonstrates that he understands that ideal, Pietersen will not play," says Jonathan Agnew of the BBC.

It caps a bizarre few days for Pietersen and English cricket. In the aftermath of the draw at Headingly the South African-born batsmen made references to splits in the England dressing room and hinted that he might stop playing for England. Soon afterwards claims about texts to the opposition emerged.

Pietersen then apparently accused his team mates of running a spoof twitter account that poked fun at him and demanded that it be shut down.

Then, on Saturday night, just as Mo Farah was winning Olympic gold in the 5,000m, he posted a video on YouTube in which he insisted that he wanted to continue playing Test cricket for England. He also said he was making himself available for one-day and Twenty20 games, despite announcing his retirement from the 50-over format earlier in the summer.

The following day he was dropped from the Test squad after failing to provide assurances to his employers about the text messages and his future as an England player is now in serious doubt. "To return Pietersen must first regain the trust of colleagues increasingly fed up that his dispute with the ECB concerning availability has overshadowed their summer," says The Times.

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