England batsman Pietersen was dropped for the deciding Test against South Africa at Lord’s, starting on Thursday, after he failed to deny sending the text messages during the drawn second Test, where he was named man-of-the-match for his 149.
Pietersen’s apology read: “I did send what you might call provocative texts to my close friends in the SA team. The texts were meant as banter between close friends.
“I need to rein myself in sometimes. I apologise to Straussy and the team for the inappropriate remarks at the press conference and for the texts. I truly didn’t mean to cause upset or tension particularly with important games at stake.”
Hugh Morris, the ECB’s managing director of cricket, plans further talks with Pietersen to determine if the batsman has a future with England.
“We are in receipt of Kevin’s apology, but further discussions need to take place to establish whether it is possible to regain the trust and mutual respect required to ensure all parties are able to focus on playing cricket and to maintain the unity of purpose that has served us so well in recent years,” said Morris.
“Critically, those discussions should take place behind closed doors, rather than in the media spotlight.
“A successful conclusion to this process is in everyone’s best interests and is required for Kevin Pietersen’s potential selection in all forms of the game to be considered.
“At the moment we have an important Investec Test match to focus on and therefore ECB will make no further comment until such time as is appropriate.”
Pietersen’s international future has been the centre of speculation since he left Headingley under a cloud after a post-match press conference in which he hinted at dressing-room unrest and refused to give assurances that the Lord’s Test would not be his last.
It subsequently emerged he was perturbed by a parody Twitter account and the possibility that his team-mates – among the followers of a feed since closed down – might somehow be associated with the mocking tone, sending up his personality and behaviour.
There was then the further revelation that he sent texts to opposition players in the thick of a high-profile series against his native country.
Pietersen made it clear, in an interview broadcast on YouTube on Saturday night, that he had seen the error of his ways and had decided playing cricket for England was more important than other issues.
Crucially, however, he did not address the matter of the text messages and on Sunday – after being given an extra five hours by the England selectors to make a public declaration about the issue – he was omitted from the 13-man squad for the final Test with Jonathan Bairstow taking his place.
England need a win at Lord’s to claim a share of the series and prevent South Africa replacing them at the top of the world rankings.