Kevin Pietersen can return to England team

BRIAN MURGATROYD
Last updated 01:37 04/10/2012
Kevin Pietersen
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ON THE OUTER: Controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen looks set to be reinstasted to the England cricket team.

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Batsman Kevin Pietersen has committed to playing for England in all three forms of the game until at least 2015 after making peace with the England and Wales Cricket Board in a row over "provocative" text messages.

"I am 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," he told a news conference today.

"I'd 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.

"Thankfully we have drawn a line under it and can move forward," he added in a prepared statement after signing a new central contract in the Sri Lankan capital where he has been working as a television pundit on the ICC World Twenty20.

Pietersen was dropped in August after sending messages to members of the opposing South Africa side which he conceded were provocative but denied were derogatory about former England captain Andrew Strauss, the ECB said.

The 32-year-old, who has averaged nearly 50 in 88 test matches, said he had deleted the messages and the ECB added on Wednesday that the issue had been "successfully concluded through a binding assurance provided by Kevin".

Pietersen added: "Although it has been made clear in the (ECB) statement, I'd like to make it clear that at no time did I share tactical information with any of the South Africans.

"It's been a horrible situation for all involved but it is time to move forward. All being well, I'll be back in an England shirt as soon as possible."

REINTEGRATION PROCESS

ECB chairman Giles Clarke, who joined Pietersen at the news conference, said a "re-integration process", which was intended to pave the way for the player's recall, had begun with the pair meeting for 2-1/2 hours on Wednesday morning.

"Kevin Pietersen has apologised to Andrew Strauss and... he now wishes to put the events of the summer behind him and to focus on regaining his place in the England team," said Clarke reading from an ECB statement.

"England Teams Director Andy Flower will lead the (re-integration) process. He will determine the progress of that process and will advise the Board when the team, management and Kevin himself feel he is ready to be reconsidered.

"Following this, it will be up to the National Selector (Geoff Miller) and the England Teams Director to determine when he should be selected. It could be very soon," added Clarke, who said Pietersen had signed a new ECB central contract.

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Strauss told reporters at St Andrews in Scotland where he is due to take part in golf's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship that he did not expect Pietersen's return to happen so quickly.

"I don't know how the meetings have been going with the ECB and Andy (Flower), but they obviously feel that they've been given assurances," Strauss said.

"Once he's back in the side it's very important that people move on," added Strauss who retired from cricket in August.

"I think a lot of what should happen now is that people have to sit down and be honest with each other, saying how they felt and getting it out of their systems and then clearing the way to move forward.

"We all know what Kevin is capable of. He can show that in India and help them win some test matches," said the 35-year-old.

Following England's elimination from the ICC World Twenty20 on Tuesday (NZ time), their next competitive action is a tour of India that features four tests, two Twenty20s and five one-dayers.

The test series squad, selected last month, did not include Pietersen. The first test starts in Ahmedabad on November 15.

- Reuters

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