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Pietersen’s position a problem, say former players

Former England Test cricketer Dominic Cork says England’s current players have lost patience with team-mate Kevin Pietersen and adds the South African-born batsman is an isolated figure in the dressing room.

Pietersen said after the drawn second Test with South Africa on Monday that he could not guarantee the third Test would not be his last, saying there were “obstacles” to him continuing as a Test cricketer.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to Kevin Pietersen – that was a fantastic innings at Headingley – but what disappointed a lot of players within that changing room was his reaction.

“There are obviously players whose patience is wearing thin at the moment; this isn’t a one-off story with Kevin Pietersen and I think that when you’re in that changing room – and what

I’m hearing – is that England players now are actually sick and tired of hearing about Kevin Pietersen in a series that is one of the biggest series England have had since Australia.,” Cork said.

He added: “What it does is it takes the focus away from exactly what this is all about. It’s not about a Kevin Pietersen story, it’s about an England side who are trying to hold onto that No.1 status. They are struggling at the moment, 1-0 down, despite a better performance at Headingley which was mainly down to a fantastic innings [from Pietersen]. But the interview after the second Test was a sad indictment of a cricketer who is lost and lonely in that team.”

Former England fast bowler Bob Willis said Pietersen was holding England to ransom.

“It’s a mess. He could go to India this autumn and New Zealand in the winter and then retire abruptly from Test match cricket. He’s clearly got his nose severely out of joint by not being included in England’s initial squad of 30 for the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September. But he also wants to play fully in the IPL, which clashes directly with England’s home series with New Zealand next May. He wants to earn his $2.5million and he is holding England to ransom,” Willis suggested.

England’s cricketing knight Sir Ian Botham said he wanted the problems with Pietersen sorted out ahead of the final Test against the Proteas.

“It reflects poorly on the team, poorly on the game and poorly on everyone involved. It must be sorted out like grown-ups.” (Sky)

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