Reuters: Kevin Pietersen’s woes continued on Sunday when he was bowled for a first-ball duck playing for county team Surrey having been dropped by England for the third test against South Africa for sending provocative text messages.
Pietersen sent texts criticising his England team mates and staff to South Africa players. The South African-born batsman apologised on Wednesday and said they were meant as “banter between close friends” but the incident upset the England management and captain Andrew Strauss.
The game for Surrey against Hampshire in a domestic 40-over competition was Pietersen’s first since he scored a brilliant 149 in the second test at Headingley earlier this month.
Batting at three away from the international scene, he fell to left-arm spinner Liam Dawson to enormous cheers from the Hampshire crowd, where Pietersen used to play before signing for Surrey.
“I do think he should have taken a break,” his former England captain Michael Vaughan said on BBC Radio.
“It’s a big ask for him to play at this time. He needs to get away from it for a week or two, have his meetings, and take a break. There’s no way he can react to the ball properly with all this going on.”
Former England captain Tony Greig said on the BBC website (www.bbc.co.uk) he felt Pietersen’s career could be in danger.
“If what’s being written is correct, he’s absolute history, there’s no way he’ll ever play again,” Greig said in reference to British media reports that Pietersen sent South Africa tactical advice.
“He’s not turned out to be a great team man and it’s now got even worse,” said Greig.
Former England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Lord MacLaurin said Pietersen was entirely to blame for the situation.
“He wasn’t greatly loved at Nottinghamshire or Hampshire and he’s certainly not loved in the England dressing room. That’s not a great background,” said MacLaurin.
Another former England captain Mike Brearley said one of Pietersen’s main flaws was misjudgement rather than being deliberately difficult.
“I do not think he is malicious or in a deliberate way destructive. He is unable to control himself, words come out of his mouth (or on Twitter) without a second thought,” he wrote in The Observer on Sunday.
Pietersen intimated following his superb Headingley knock that he intended to retire from international cricket before he issued a statement via a staged YouTube interview saying he was still committed to England. He was dropped the next day.
The dynamic batsman, who has scored 21 test centuries for his adopted country, is expected to meet Strauss after the current test for clear-the-air talks.
Pietersen will hope to get back in favour in time for an outside chance at selection for England’s World Twenty20 squad this week. He played a vital role with the bat in helping England lift their first limited overs trophy at the 2010 World Twenty20 tournament.