London: England cricket coach Andy Flower on Tuesday refused to say whether Kevin Pietersen still had an international future, after the star batsman was omitted from the squad for the next month's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
But Flower, himself a world-class batsman in his playing days with Zimbabwe, said the present stand-off was a 'very sad situation for everyone involved'. Pietersen was also left out for the limited overs and Twenty20 matches against his native South Africa starting Friday. The 32-year-old shotmaker was the player of the tournament when England won the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean two years ago. But his absence from the latest squad came as little surprise after he was dropped for the final Test against South Africa following his admission he sent 'provocative" text messages to South Africa players, with some allegedly critical remarks about Andrew Strauss, England's Test captain.
England suffered a 51-run defeat at Lord's on Monday and lost their position as the world's number one-ranked Test side to South Africa. Strauss said he did not expect a quick resolution of the wider issues involving Pietersen and that this process was, in any event, best carried out in private. His sentiments were echoed by Flower, who told Sky Sports on Tuesday: "It's a very sad situation for everyone involved. "He (Pietersen) played superbly in our last Twenty20 World Cup but the circumstances that exist at the moment mean that he can't be selected for us. There are still issues unresolved and we will be addressing those issues when we have time to do so.
"Let me just be clear, this is not just an issue between the captain and Kevin. There are deeper issues. Certainly the issues of trust and mutual respect need to be addressed, there are unresolved issues that have reared their heads in the last few weeks. And those issues have to be resolved before there is any way forward. You resolve these issues face-to-face with people, not through agents or PR agencies, and if this issue is going to be resolved that's how it is going to have to be. There are always issues coming up, it's part of what makes the job very interesting and Andrew Strauss and I have worked very closely and very well together over the years and we'll continue to do so over this issue."
Meanwhile England seamer James Anderson said it was important a clear decision on Pietersen's international future was reached, whatever the outcome. "I think all parties need to get a result at the end of the day and try and sort the issues out and whatever result they come to at the end of it, the players will just go a long with," Anderson said. "You need everyone pulling in the same direction and I'm sure the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), Strauss and Flower will be looking out for the interests in the future."