England boss says sorry to CSA
THE apology that England Cricket Board CEO David Collier has been forced to make to South Africa's players is unlikely to ease the strained relations between the countries' administrators.
The episode could also force a rethink about the way players communicate when they are in opposing teams. It also leaves unanswered the question: How did private text messages between the players reach the public domain?
Collier has said sorry for the claim he made on BBC radio that the Proteas had engineered Kevin Pietersen's removal from the England team for the third Test at Lord's in August.
Pietersen was axed after he sent text messages allegedly disparaging the then England captain Andrew Strauss to members of the South African team.
A statement issued yesterday by Cricket SA and the ECB said that CSA "has made clear to the ECB that the electronic messages were not part of any initiative or plan to undermine the England teamor players".
"ECB has unreservedly accepted that assurance and wishes to reiterate that it has no issue at all with CSA - or the Proteas players - on this matter and appreciates that the SA and England players follow the highest ethical standards of behaviour." CSA and SACA (the SA Cricketers' Association) accept Collier's apology based upon his earlier utterances that the team may have acted in a way which was underhand."
The two boards hope that will be the end of the matter, but it is destined to linger. "Things are getting ugly," a CSA official said on the issue on Saturday.
But by yesterday the mood had calmed. "To get him to apologise is an acknowledgement that he was wrong, and we're happy with that," said CSA acting CEO Jacques Faul.
"Cricket is a small world, so we all have to get on. The man has apologised and we have got to move beyond this now," Faul said.
"But we could learn out of this in that there should be a protocol about messages between teams while they are playing against each other. We don't want to get into that situation again."
SACA CEO Tony Irish sang from the same hymn sheet.
"The most important thing to us is that he retracted the comments and apologised," Irish said. "We simply wanted an apology, which was given."
How Pietersen's texts leapt from the cellphones of South African players to the media remained a mystery to Irish.