Botham: KP return difficult
Former England captain Sir Ian Botham believes Kevin Pietersen's proposed return to the national side is unlikely to be a smooth one.
Botham has been a vocal critic of the lengthy stand-off between Pietersen and the England and Wales Cricket Board and is convinced bridges should have been built much sooner.
ECB chairman Giles Clarke appeared alongside the batsman in Colombo on Wednesday to announce that a programme of "reintegration" had been agreed between the parties with a view to Pietersen being restored to the England team.
It is currently unclear whether that will be in the forthcoming Test series against India or the one-day leg of the tour in the new year, with team director Andy Flower likely to have the final say.
Botham, though, thinks Pietersen's absence since August will cause some difficulty of its own.
"This should have been sorted out months ago," Botham told Sky Sports News.
"It's dragged on and on and it's very diffucult for both parties, but that's for him to sort out.
"I think he's a world-class player but the thing is this should have been sorted out at the very beginning.
"The more it drags on, the more Chinese whispers, the more half-truths become truths.
"It needed to be nipped in the bud. It will be difficult now. He'll have some work to do."
Former England seamer Bob Willis expressed his astonishment at the ECB for accepting Pietersen's version of events.
"I find it flabbergasting that Pietersen can convince the ECB that he didn't say anything derogatory about the England captain," he told Sky Sports News.
"What on earth was all the fuss about? These texts were called "provocative" by the ECB.
"So if they're provocative there must have been some criticism of somebody."
Willis does not think Pietersen's eventual return to England's dressing room will be as simple.
The 63-year-old also believes Pietersen alienated himself from certain members of the team due to "his love of money".
"I don't think (Pietersen's integration) is going to be that easy and the individuals we're talking about are clearly Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Stuart Broad," Willis told Sky Sports News.
"They were probably involved in taking the mickey out of Pietersen to the rest of the side.
"Kevin had a sense of humour failure and he didn't enjoy this.
"He likes being top of the roost, I don't think there's any denying he loves the greenback dollar and he's going to earn as much as he can playing cricket.
"But his obsession in this area has clearly upset some of his England team-mates. Some have been able to swallow it, the more mischievous of the bunch have taken the mickey and Kevin didn't like that.
"I think Kevin has realised his massive sponsorship deals probably would disintegrate, certainly outside of India, if he wasn't playing Test match cricket for England so there was a commercial aspect to this decision as well."
Willis now believes Pietersen should be included for the India tour.
"The next Test series is still five and a half weeks away. They're talking about reintegration and although the squad has been announced for that India tour, Pietersen, as a central contract holder, should clearly be a part of that team," he said.
However, Willis sounded a note of caution, adding: "He's upset every dressing room he's been in so he needs to change his ways."
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