But even as the batsman and his representatives were locked in delicate negotiations with the England and Wales Cricket Board on Tuesday evening, an interview with Andrew Strauss was being broadcast which underlined the extent to which Pietersen's relationship with his team-mates has been damaged.
"I'm a big believer in not airing dirty laundry in public," the England captain said in an excerpt from an interview with one of his predecessors, Nasser Hussain, that was recorded to be shown in full on Sky during the lunch interval of the first day of his 100th Test.
"It's one of our core values in our team that what goes on in the dressing room stays in the dressing room. Any time anyone has fallen foul of that they have been disciplined – and rightly so. It's about mutual respect and trust, and that is a core issue that is central to resolving this.
"I've always got on with Kevin," Strauss had said earlier in the interview. "I've tried to be honest with him; he's been honest with me. That's why this has all been a bit of a surprise to me.
"I think the discontent that Kevin had with the board over his contract situation was one that the players didn't get involved in – and I didn't really get involved in, if I'm honest.
"But over the last week I have had to get involved because there have been issues a little bit more central to his relationship with the other players and our ability to perform out in the middle."
Pietersen was asked late last week, after South Africa's manager had confirmed that he had been texting members of the opposition at Headingley, to deny reports that they contained derogatory comments about Strauss.
He declined to do so and was omitted for the third Test which starts at Lord's on Thursday. England made clear that a comeback – possibly as early as the one-day matches against South Africa that follow the Lord's Test, before the team head for Sri Lanka at the end of September to defend their title as world Twenty20 champions – necessitated either the denial or an apology.
So the talks that had begun before last Sunday's squad announcement have continued and Pietersen on Monday offered his apology. Nobody from the players' camp or ECB was prepared to confirm it publicly, though Alec Stewart, executive director of Pietersen's county, Surrey, told BBC radio it had been made, adding that Pietersen "had had no confirmation back".
That was perhaps because of the mistrust that has developed over who has been leaking what to whom, or perhaps because of a desire from the ECB not to fuel the suspicion that the Pietersen saga has dominated the buildup to England's most important Test of the summer.
But there are hopes that an agreement could be reached in time for Pietersen to be included in the 15-man squad for the world Twenty20 that has to be announced by Saturday – the third day of the Test that England must win to avoid being displaced by South Africa from the top of the world Test rankings.
News of the apology emerged after Stuart Broad made a statement denying any involvement in the spoof KP Genius Twitter account which had been run by his friend Richard Bailey. "I met with the managing director, England Cricket, Hugh Morris this morning and assured him that I did not play any role in the creation of this account or provide Mr Bailey with any information regarding Kevin Pietersen or the England team," Broad said.
Morris was said to be "fully satisfied that [Broad] acted in a professional manner at all times".
Strauss, though, will hardly be relishing the prospect of dredging through the issues again at his captain's press conference at Lord's on Wednesday lunchtime.
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