England's Pietersen dilemma : Kevin Pietersen dropped over text messages | Cricket News | England v South Africa | ESPN Cricinfo
Kevin Pietersen has been omitted from the England squad for the final Test against South Africa at Lord's, the morning after releasing a video where he committed himself to all international cricket, because he has failed to confirm that he did not send derogatory texts about Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower to South Africa players.
The squad announcement had been delayed by five hours following the release of the video by Pietersen on Saturday evening, where he came out of ODI retirement and said he would not play a full IPL, although that was to allow Pietersen time to reveal the content of the text messages he exchanged with the South Africans during the Headingley Test.
In the nine-minute video he claimed that dressing-room issues, which had come to a head over the last week, had been sorted out after a phone call with one team-mate and that he 'loved' playing for England. But it is understood that the ECB were not aware that he was going to release the video.
However, the key issue for the management remained the text messages and the delay in naming the squad was to allow Pietersen time to provide clarity over them which he failed to do. Cricket South Africa were not approached by the ECB to reveal information about the texts and on Saturday it was denied that Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers were the players to receive them. Jonny Bairstow, the Yorkshire batsman, who played against West Indies has been recalled.
Managing director of England Cricket, Hugh Morris, said: "During the past week we have held several discussions with Kevin Pietersen and his advisors. Following a constructive meeting it was agreed that a number of actions needed to be completed to re-engage Kevin within the England dressing room.
"A fundamental item was to confirm publicly that no derogatory texts had been sent by Kevin to the South African team. This has not been forthcoming despite clear timelines being set to allow the Selectors to pick the squad for the third Investec Test match. We provided an additional six hours this morning to provide every opportunity for agreement to be reached but regrettably this has not been possible.
"The success of the England team has been built on a unity of purpose and trust. Whilst we have made every attempt to find a solution to enable Kevin to be selected we have sadly had to conclude that, in the best interest of the team, he will miss the Lord's Test."
National selector, Geoff Miller, added: "We need a squad fully focussed on this Test match to be able to play the sort of cricket we know is necessary if we are to win this week and level the series."
From a purely cricket point of view Pietersen's omission leaves England with an inexperienced middle order if both Bairstow and James Taylor play at Lord's although there remains the option for the home side to play a five-man attack as they aim to level the series.
Bairstow, who struck a hundred for England Lions against Australia A this week, made his debut at Lord's in the first Test of the season against West Indies but scored just 38 runs in the three matches before making way for Ravi Bopara at the start of the South Africa series. Bopara's recall lasted one match before personal issues cost him his place and Taylor was called up.