x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Cricket South Africa denies provocation of Kevin Pietersen

England chief executive David Collier's charge that the Proteas players set the batsman up 'absolute rubbish', says his counterpart Jacques Faul.

Kevin Pietersen last represented England in a Test against South Africa at Leeds in August. Tom Hevezi / AP Photo
Kevin Pietersen last represented England in a Test against South Africa at Leeds in August. Tom Hevezi / AP Photo

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has dismissed a claim made by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive David Collier that South Africa players provoked Kevin Pietersen to send inflammatory text messages as "absolute rubbish".

Last week Pietersen and the ECB jointly agreed a process for his return to the England set-up after he was excluded following a series of "provocative" messages he sent to South Africa players during the Test at Headingley this summer.

Pietersen was dropped for the final Test and a one-day international series against the Proteas and the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka after allegedly criticising then England captain Andrew Strauss in the texts.

Collier told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme on Sunday that Pietersen was replying to Blackberry Messenger messages sent by the opposition and that the South Africans had a "definite policy" to antagonise him.

"This is absolute rubbish," Jacques Faul, the CSA acting chief executive, said. "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.

"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.

"It is not the way CSA goes about its business and it is not the way the ECB has 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."

Collier believes the texts were used as a way to gain an advantage on England.

"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 [South Africa] provoked the situation.

"I think there was a tactic which was used. I think that is sadly some of the ways of modern sport but as I say we have plenty of people who are strong in the dressing room who provide very good leadership who can deal with those situations."

South Africa team manager, Mohammed Moosajee, denied his players provoked Pietersen, describing the allegations as "irresponsible".

"For them to turn around and get our players involved is really unfair," BBC Sport reported him saying. "Kevin Pietersen knows he sent the messages to our players.

"The fact David hasn't had sight of those messages, for him to make insinuations that the Proteas players instigated this whole fracas is both irresponsible and unfair. We confirmed initially that it was all banter."

Faul spoke with Collier today to discuss the comments, although CSA would not reveal what was said between the two while the ECB were not available for comment.

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