Cricket SA furious as KP claims 'not cricket'
KEVIN Pietersen jetted in to Johannesburg last night to face the music after his questionable conduct during South Africa's tour to England.
The taint of the SMS saga has been so severe that it has even cast a long shadow over the Champions League T20 tournament in South Africa, an event that should, ideally, be firmly focused on showcasing talent on the pitch, rather than unruly conduct off it.
The star batsman touched down hours after Cricket South Africa had labelled as "absolute rubbish" claims by the England Cricket Board that Proteas players had provoked Pietersen into allegedly sending them disparaging SMSes about Andrew Strauss.
Strauss retired as the side's captain after England's Test series against Proteas.
Pietersen, who is in the country to play for the Delhi Daredevils in the Champions League T20, has begun what the England Cricket Board described as his "reintegration" into the national team after he was axed in the wake of the SMS scandal. Part of the board's plan, it would seem, is for Pietersen to prostrate himself, starting with an abject apology on YouTube.
On Sunday, the England Cricket Board's chief executive, David Collier, told the BBC that South Africa's players were not innocents in the affair: "I think there was a tactic which was used. It is trying to undermine another team and another team's ethic."
But the acting chief executive of Cricket South Africa, Jacques Faul, was having none of that.
"This is absolute rubbish," Faul said yesterday. "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."
Yesterday, Daredevils coach Eric Simons firmly stated his support for Pietersen amid the scandal.
"Cricket is a mind game - it is about your confidence as a person," Simons said.
"Kevin Pietersen's strength is the person he is. If he wasn't the confident person he is, would he be the cricketer he is?"
When asked if it was difficult to keep Pietersen in check in a Delhi dressingroom already swollen with the egos of players like Virender Sehwag and Irfan Pathan, Simons responded: "You don't need to keep Kevin Pietersen in check."
He added: "People are allowed to be who they are... but they need to understand that there is one objective and that's the team objective."
Pietersen topped the Daredevils averages in the 2012 Indian Premier League in which they reached the semifinals.