KP row overshadows build-up
Kevin Pietersen's team-mates must set aside their bemusement at his claims of dressing-room unrest ahead of the third Test with South Africa.
Pietersen's own place in the squad to face South Africa at Lord's next week has even been put in doubt by his bizarre and already infamous press conference remarks following the second Test at Headingley.
There, he hinted strongly at difficulties within the team - a depiction several England players have since publicly taken issue with, and one at odds with the harmonious ethos preached and so highly prized by coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss.
Pietersen is reported to have been concerned that a spoof Twitter account, in his name but mocking his perceived personality, was followed by his team-mates and that they might even have been responsible for it or at least aware of who was.
The Twitter account has been closed down, although the England and Wales Cricket Board are not thought to have played any role in its suspension, as they once did with a feed which purported to be representing middle-order batsman Ian Bell.
ECB management have discussed their response to Pietersen's unexpected remarks, but none has yet been made public.
The squad to be announced on Sunday morning, for a match England must win to square the series and stop South Africa taking away their world-beating status, will nonetheless be more keenly-awaited than most.
Among those who can expect to be retained from Headingley are seamer Tim Bresnan, who today became the latest to voice his surprise at suggestions anything is amiss with team spirit.
"Kevin mentioned the dressing room in his post-match comments at Headingley, but I can assure you there has been no great change in the relationship between the players," the Yorkshireman told the Daily Mirror.
"The lads all generally rub along well together - and if anyone has an issue, whether it is Kev or anybody else, we can all talk to each other and get it sorted. But if players want to be left alone then that is fine too.
"There has always been banter between us all, and Kevin has been a big part of that on both sides. All teams have it, and it is healthy."
'Banter' was also the word used this morning by a South Africa team spokesman, confirming Pietersen sent text messages to opposition players AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn during the Leeds Test against his native country.
Whether that sort of fraternisation with opponents is a significant matter is a moot point.
Bresnan, meanwhile, is happy that the home dressing-room is a comfortable and productive environment for all. "As far as I'm concerned the England dressing room is still a great place to be, and when we cross the boundary rope we are all pulling in the same direction," he said.
"We all want the same thing, which is for England to do as well as possible and for the batsmen to score their runs and the bowlers to take their wickets."
Pietersen's qualms over his future as an international player and his apparent aspirations to play a full Indian Premier League campaign next spring - at a time when England have Test obligations - are a different matter. Bresnan added: "The other issues surrounding Kev are for him to sort out with the ECB, and I'm sure Kev will do whatever he wants to do - and we should let him get on with that."