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HindustanTimes Sat,29 Nov 2014

Cricket

Strauss drops the 'C' word on Pietersen on live TV, later says he is 'profusely sorry'
AFP
London, July 06, 2014
First Published: 06:51 IST(6/7/2014)
Last Updated: 07:07 IST(6/7/2014)

Former England captain Andrew Strauss was "mortified" and "profusely sorry" after initiating a fresh row regarding Kevin Pietersen by making highly offensive comments about his old Test colleague while broadcasting, he said on Saturday.

Sky Sports commentator Strauss, believing he was off the air in a break in play during the Lord's bicentenary match between MCC and the Rest of the World, reportedly used a particularly obscene epithet to describe Pietersen.

But although Strauss's remarks weren't heard by Sky viewers, they were picked up on an overseas app receiving a continuous feed of the Sky commentary.

Strauss subsequently apologised live on air by saying: "I apologise unreservedly, particularly to Kevin Pietersen. I am mortified and profusely sorry."

His apology came after Sky had issued a brief statement saying: "Earlier comments were made during a break in play which were heard overseas. We apologise for the language used."

Prior to Strauss's apology, celebrity television chat show host Piers Morgan, a close friend of Pietersen, called for him to be sacked if the comments were verified.

"If Strauss story is true then he'll have to be fired, surely? Or is a commentator calling @KP24 a 'c**t' on air acceptable @SkyCricket?

"After all, Strauss himself axed KP from his England team for allegedly saying similar things about him that weren't even broadcast," added Morgan, in a reference to the troubled history between the two one-time team-mates.

Pietersen, after making a match-saving hundred in a Test against his native South Africa at Headingley in 2012, was briefly dropped from the England team after sending text messages said to contain derogatory references to Strauss to Proteas players.

Strauss, twice an Ashes-winning captain, retired following South Africa's 2-0 win in that series.

The former opening batsman insisted at the time, however, that he had not quit as a result of the comments made by Pietersen, his predecessor as England captain.

- Talking out of school -

However, he did say in retirement: "I wasn't all that bothered about him (Pietersen) sending texts to the South African players that he knew quite well.

"I did, however, have issues with him criticising me to the opposition.

"That felt like talking out of school, not to mention giving the opposition a way to drive a wedge between Pietersen and myself and the team.

"And if he really had given information about how to get me out, well that amounted to treachery and I would never forgive him.

"I am confident, in retrospect, that he did not give the South Africans information on how to get me out.

"The nagging frustration I still have is that all of that time, effort and commitment from our players over a three-year period to make our environment special and different was undermined in one episode."

Pietersen was subsequently restored to the England team.

But following England's recent 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia, the England and Wales Cricket Board effectively ended the 34-year-old Pietersen's international career -- even though he is England's all-time leading run-scorer across all formats -- in what they said was a move designed to support current captain Alastair Cook.

Pietersen said Friday he still harboured hopes of an England return but playing for the Rest of the World against an equally star-studded MCC side on Saturday he did little to advance his cause by being stumped for 10 off Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.

In Pietersen's absence, England were beaten 1-0 at home to Sri Lanka in a two-Test series last month.

England begin a five-Test series at home to India at Nottingham's Trent Bridge ground on Wednesday.
 


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