Quick Links



    Pietersen set for England talks: reports

    London: Kevin Pietersen was set to meet with England coach Andy Flower on Saturday, the British media reported, in a bid to resolve his international future.

    Pietersen has been exiled from the England team since the drawn second Test against South Africa in Leeds, where he made a brilliant 149, after it emerged he'd sent "provocative" text messages to opposition players.

    Some of these were alleged to be critical of Andrew Strauss, the then England Test captain, who retired from all cricket on Wednesday. Strauss insisted his exit had nothing to do with the fall-out from the furore engulfing Pietersen, his predecessor as England captain.

    Pietersen apologised for the texts but England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Hugh Morris said further talks were needed to "regain trust and mutual respect".

    Pietersen didn't feature in England's third Test loss at Lord's, which saw them replaced by South Africa at the top of the world Test rankings. He is also playing no part in the ongoing one-day international series against South Africa which England, in their first match since one-day captain Alastair Cook was confirmed as Strauss's successor as Test skipper, levelled at 1-1 with two to play following a four-wicket win at The Oval on Friday.

    Pietersen has also been omitted from England's squad for this month's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, despite being named man of the tournament when the side won the 2010 edition in the Caribbean.

    Prior to the text row, the 32-year-old Pietersen had been involved in a dispute which appeared to see him trying to set the terms of his international availability to fit in with his lucrative commitments in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL).

    "I think that was the catalyst for a lot of the stuff," said Flower earlier this month.

    "The IPL and the international fixtures in England are an area of conflict. It would be better if there was a very clear window prior to our international season starting. But it doesn't look like that is an issue that is going to be sorted out in the future, so it may well recur," Flower added.

    Meanwhile, an interview Pietersen gave to the Cricketer magazine, before he was axed from the England team but which has only been published this week, is unlikely to help repair his relations with the ECB, whom he accused of "not accepting" the IPL.

    "Test cricket is right up there, most definitely," Pietersen said, "but IPL and Twenty20 cricket is a matter of fact now.

    "Every board has accepted it apart from the ECB, unfortunately. Some part of international cricket may have to give because the IPL is not going away. No-one in their right mind would turn down the contracts I have been offered."

    Pietersen, in comments that will concern both ECB officials and England fans, not to mention his international team-mates, also seemed to suggest a key reason for playing Test cricket was to improve his commercial worth in the IPL.

    "The best players in Test cricket have got the best contracts in the IPL," he said. "You know that's where you build the brand."

    Pietersen initially retired from all limited overs international cricket earlier this season when England refused his wish of appearing in Twenty20 internationals while opting out of 50 overs per side one-dayers.

    It was a position Pietersen later reversed by declaring himself available to represent England in all forms of cricket.