Pietersen apologises to Strauss

England batsman Kevin Pietersen. Picture: AFP
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LONDON - England batsman Kevin Pietersen has conceded he needs to control his behaviour following his demotion from the test team for sending South Africa players text messages criticising his team mates and staff.

Pietersen was dropped ahead of the third and final test between the two top-ranked test sides starting at Lord's on Thursday. England, trailing 1-0, need to win to stay at number one.

"I need to rein myself in sometimes. I did send what you might call provocative texts to my close friends in the SA team," Pietersen said in an apology to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) released on Wednesday.

"The texts were meant as banter between close friends. I apologise to Straussy (captain Andrew Strauss) and the team for the inappropriate remarks at the press conference and for the texts.

"I truly didn't mean to cause upset or tension particularly with important games at stake."

ECB managing director Hugh Morris responded to Pietersen's apology in a statement on Wednesday.

"We are in receipt of Kevin's apology, but further discussions need to take place to establish whether it is possible to regain the trust and mutual respect required to ensure all parties are able to focus on playing cricket.

"Those discussions should take place behind closed doors, rather than in the media spotlight."

Pietersen had intimated after the second test, in which he scored a brilliant 149 to earn the man-of-the-match award, that he intended to retire altogether from international cricket.

He then issued a statement via a staged YouTube interview saying he was still committed to playing for England. Pietersen was dropped on the following day.