16 Oct 2012

England cricket chief apologises to South Africa

5:30 am on 16 October 2012

England cricket's chief David Collier has been forced to apologise to South Africa after accusing their players of provoking Kevin Pietersen in a text message row that led to the batsman being dropped.

Cricket South Africa were furious about the England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive's comments last week and demanded an apology.

South African-born Pietersen was dropped by England for the third and final test between the two countries at Lord's in August after admitting sending provocative texts to the tourists, but denying allegations he told them how to go about dismissing the England captain Andrew Strauss.

Cricket South Africa has made clear to ECB that the text messages were not part of any initiative or plan to undermine the England team or players.

Pietersen has been dropped for this month's tour of India but could be recalled after agreeing to a "reintegration" period after apologising to the ECB and Strauss, who retired after the Lord's test when South Africa took England's number one ranking.

Collier infuriated South Africa last week when trying to defend Pietersen.