London: England coach Andy Flower believes Kevin Pietersen must reveal the content_cn of his controversial text messages if he wants to salvage his international career.
South Africa-born Pietersen was left out of the England side that lost their world number one Test ranking to the Proteas with a 51-run loss at Lord’s on Monday after sending what he admitted were “provocative” texts to South African players.
It has been alleged the texts contained derogatory remarks regarding England Test captain Andrew Strauss.
Although he has apologised, Pietersen’s failure to furnish the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with the detail they want did not help his cause, as he was dropped despite a brilliant 149 in the second Test at Headingley.
He was also omitted from the squad named on Tuesday for next month’s World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, despite being the player of the tournament when England won the tournament in the Caribbean two years ago.
“There are a number of outstanding issues to be resolved,” said Flower. “An example of that would be finding out exactly what these text messages contained, if we do really want to move forward either way,” the former Zimbabwe batsman added.
“I’m not sure of exactly the best way to investigate it. I think it’s always nice to have a large element of up-front honesty.”
But Flower was cautious as to whether Pietersen had played his last match for his adopted country, after earlier attempting to seemingly dictate when he played for England and in what format before making himself available again for all matches.
“I would rather not speculate on that,” he said. “He (Pietersen) was speculating on it during a Test series – so I suppose there is a chance. There are certain behaviours that are unacceptable and I think we’ve seen some of that just recently.”
Flower insisted England, whose next Test series comes during a tour of India later this year, could regain their number one status even without Pietersen, whose average of nearly 50 is the mark of a truly world-class player.
“English cricket has a great history – and it has a great future,” Flower said. “It is bigger than any one player. You will always move on from anyone – whether it be a captain, a coach or a player.
“I think the most important thing is that we do the right thing for England cricket. That’s how we will make our decision.”
Meanwhile senior paceman James Anderson said the rest of the side would take their cue on the whole controversy from Strauss.
“Straussy has got so much respect as a captain and a leader,” said Anderson. “We very much respect his decisions – and we will back him to the hilt with whatever he and the ECB decide.”
And Flower was confident that although Strauss’s 100th Test had ended in defeat, he was not about to step down from the captaincy.
“He’ll come back. He’s a strong bloke and he’ll come back feeling very strong. We will definitely be plotting our challenge. We want to get back to number one. We’ve got a tough outing first up in India, of course – but that’ll be exciting.”