| Kevin Pietersen |
Calcutta/London: Cricket South Africa (CSA) has strongly condemned allegations by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) CEO, David Collier, that South African players had instigated the text message row involving the English Board and Kevin Pietersen.
“This is absolute rubbish,” commented CSA acting CEO Jacques Faul. “What is particularly disappointing is that I had a face-to-face meeting with Mr. Collier when I was in London for the Lord’s Test match.
“He did not raise this allegation with me then and I would have thought as a matter of courtesy and decency he would have spoken to me about it before going public in the media,” Faul added.
“It is not the way CSA goes about its business and it is not the way the ECB have done business with us in the past either. It is very disappointing because in the past, our relationships with the ECB have always been cordial and constructive.
“This is an internal ECB matter in which we do not wish to be involved. It served as a distraction to our players that we did not need during the Test series,” Faul pointed out.
South Africa, in fact, are expected to demand an apology from Collier.
Collier’s comments, made during a radio interview, have outraged senior South African officials as well and are in danger of straining relations between the two Boards.
CSA officials will study transcripts of Collier’s interview on Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme to verify his quotes before they decide whether to request a formal apology.
“The insinuations should be beneath the dignity of English cricket. This could be a very dark day in ECB-CSA relations and it could take some time to get over,” said a senior South Africa source.
Pietersen admitted that he had sent “provocative” texts to members of South Africa’s squad, but Collier put a new slant on a long-running story by claiming that the batsman was responding to provocation from the South Africans.
“That’s our understanding. It is a very thin line between fair and unfair,” Collier said.
“These were responses to messages from certain members of the South Africa team and I would not condone an England player doing it if it was the other way around, and I certainly think they provoked the situation.”
The content of the texts that Pietersen sent has not been made public and has been the subject of much speculation since a South Africa journalist discovered during the second Test, at Headingley, that the South Africa-born England batsman he had been in contact with members of the touring squad.