Cricket: Kevin Pietersen agrees England contract
KEVIN Pietersen wants to resume his England career in time for the impending Test tour of India but has a narrow window in which to convince team director Andy Flower that it is feasible.
Pietersen yesterday agreed a central contract, initially for four months, with his return to the fold dependent on a “reintegration process” following the breakdown in his relations with Flower, dressing-room colleagues and his England and Wales Cricket Board employers.
At a joint press conference with ECB chairman Giles Clarke, Pietersen apologised to all parties for the “horrible” situation that has prevailed for the past two months.
Following his summer of contract wrangles and intrigue over “provocative” texts he sent to opposition South Africa players during the Headingley Test, the 32-year-old was ex-communicated by England.
Pietersen was dropped from the Lord’s Test, picked in neither the squad for England’s failed defence of their ICC World Twenty20 title nor the imminent trip to India – and not offered a central contract last month when all other senior players were.
He has made his goodwill clear, however, to play his part in his own rehabilitation – a mutual undertaking that will be overseen by Flower, with the help of a professional mediator if he sees fit.
The timetable for a successful process extends until the end of this year. But, if it is to be completed so that Pietersen can be added to the squad to leave for India – via a training camp in Dubai – on 25 October, swift progress must be made.
Asked if he believes that may be possible, Pietersen said: “I hope so. I want to play for England as soon as I can.
“The process has started really well – and I believe, 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 reintegration 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.”
“I’d just like to take this opportunity to apologise to my team-mates, all the England supporters for the situation that has arisen in the last couple of months.
“Thankfully we have drawn a line under it and it’s time to move forward.
“Although it’s already been covered in the statement, I want to make very clear that at no time did I ever share tactical information with any of the South Africans or the South African management.
“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 my 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 reintegration process we have agreed over the coming weeks and resuming my England career in all formats, hopefully until the World Cup in 2015, as long as my body allows.
“I want my son growing up seeing me play for England and I hope one day he will put on an England shirt himself.”
“ECB and Kevin Pietersen confirm that agreement has been reached concerning a process for his reintegration into the England team during the remainder of 2012. Upon completion of the programme, the England Selectors will consider Kevin for future matches.
“Kevin Pietersen has apologised to Andrew Strauss and wishes to express to all those who support England his regrets at the impact the recent controversies have had on the England Team. He now wishes to put the events of the summer behind him and to focus on regaining his place in the England Team.
“With regards the issue of the BBM messages, due to the fact that Kevin had not retained the BBM messages, this matter has been successfully concluded through a binding assurance provided to ECB by Kevin.
“Kevin conceded that the messages exchanged were provocative. ECB is satisfied, following receipt of this binding assurance, that to the best of his recollection, Kevin did not convey any messages which were derogatory about the England Captain, the England Team Director, the ECB or employees of the ECB. Furthermore, there was no tactical information whatsoever provided to members of the South African Touring Party.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
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