KP apologises over texts - report
Kevin Pietersen has apologised to the ECB for texts sent to opposition players during the Headingley Test, it was reported on Tuesday night.
As another day in the ongoing Pietersen controversy drew to a hectic close, there was still no confirmation from the ECB that Pietersen had acceded to their request to either deny the existence of the texts or apologise for them.
Former England captain Alec Stewart told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'm hearing he's now apologised but hasn't had any confirmation back from the ECB."
Hours earlier, Pietersen's present Test captain Andrew Strauss had become the third England player to have his say on a vexed matter yet to be resolved.
Strauss spoke of his regret that Pietersen "aired dirty laundry in public" as his contract wrangles escalated to Twitter and text-message intrigue, and eventually in him being dropped for the must-win Lord's Test against South Africa.
The ECB were also forced today to issue a statement in which Stuart Broad denied any involvement in the parody Twitter account which so upset Pietersen.
At lunchtime, Tim Bresnan's turn had come first to voice his bemusement at the events of the past week - and give his "100%" backing to the ECB for being strong enough to drop Pietersen, even when the stakes are so high for a match in which England must beat South Africa to share the Investec series and therefore stop their opponents taking away their world number one status.
Strauss himself appears to have been taken aback that the saga over Pietersen's contract impasse this summer with the ECB, following his shock retirement from limited-overs internationals in May, should suddenly have moved into overdrive.
South Africa-born batsman Pietersen's inability, after the drawn Leeds Test, to provide reassurance Lord's would not be his last match for England led many to conclude there and then his career for his adopted country was in jeopardy.
That remains the case, particularly after the text messages he is alleged to have sent - containing derogatory remarks about his own team-mates, or otherwise - to South Africa players.
Pietersen had perhaps already tried the ECB's patience, but it was the text issue which was cited as the main reason he was not included on Sunday afternoon in the 13-man squad for Lord's.
Strauss must therefore somehow galvanise those in attendance for a mighty performance, in what will be his 100th Test - and 50th as captain.
"I've always got on with Kevin," he told Sky Sports.
"I've tried to be honest with him; he's been honest with me.
"That's why this has all been a bit of a surprise to me.
"I think the discontent that Kevin had with the board over his contract situation was one that the players didn't get involved in - and I didn't really get involved in, if I'm honest.
"But over the last week I have had to get involved, because there have been issues a little bit more central to his relationship with the other players and our ability to perform out in the middle."
Points of principle are at stake for Strauss, and coach Andy Flower, who have formed a successful management axis in an era of notable success for England.
"Firstly, I'm a big believer in not airing dirty laundry in public," he added.
"It's one of our core values in our team that what goes on in the dressing room stays in the dressing room.
"Any time anyone has fallen foul of that they have been disciplined - and rightly so.
"It's about mutual respect and trust, and that is a core issue that is central to resolving this."
Broad, meanwhile, has been moved to deny any responsibility for the Twitter account which sent up Pietersen's personality.
Richard Bailey, a friend of Broad's, yesterday admitted he was behind the feed - which was closed down last week, after it became clear its humorous intent was instead causing offence and aggravation.
Pietersen is thought to have been concerned especially that some of his team-mates, including Broad, were following the spoof account - and might even have some input in it.
Broad said: "Following last night's statement by Mr Richard Bailey that he was responsible for creating a parody Twitter account in Kevin Pietersen's name, I would like to confirm that I had no involvement in this whatsoever.
"I met with the Managing Director, England Cricket, Hugh Morris this morning and assured him that I did not play any role in the creation of this account or provide Mr Bailey with any information regarding Kevin Pietersen or the England team.
"As has been widely reported, Mr Bailey is a friend of mine. But we had no conversations regarding this issue at all, and I am pleased that he has now decided to close the parody account down."
Morris added: "Having discussed this matter with Stuart, I am fully satisfied that he acted in a professional manner at all times and did not breach any confidences regarding fellow England players.
"ECB also accepts the apology Mr Bailey offered last night to the England team via his Twitter account and his reassurances that no professional cricketers were involved in the creation of this site."