By insisting that Kevin Pietersen will be welcomed back into the England dressing room whenever he has completed his reintegration process, the Twenty20 captain, Stuart Broad, offered further evidence of the level of mutual mistrust that still has to be overcome.
Broad said all the right things when the Pietersen problem inevitably dominated a round of interviews to promote his new book, claiming slightly implausibly that "from the team's perspective his integration will be easy". But he also confirmed that the pair have not even spoken since Pietersen's last England appearance in the second Test against South Africa at Headingley in August – when he reflected in an emotional post-match press conference that "it's not easy being me" in the England dressing room, after relationships had hit rock bottom.
Broad, whose friendship with the man behind the spoof KP Genius Twitter account has caused resentment in the Pietersen camp, again stressed that it was Pietersen who ruled himself out of England's recently-completed World T20 campaign when he retired from one-day international cricket in June. He also said: "When KP's happy and wants to play for England, he's a massive asset to the team" – inviting the conclusion that there have been times when he has not been so keen.
So while Broad's comments would seem to confirm that the senior England players are preparing for Pietersen's return on the four-Test tour of India which is preceded by a training camp in Dubai at the end of the month, they also show why the England and Wales Cricket Board and the team director, Andy Flower, have been so keen to set up face-to-face meetings over the next few weeks.
Broad revealed that he has still to receive a date for his reunion with Pietersen, whose availability for talks will depend on the progress made by Delhi Daredevils in the Champions League T20 in South Africa. "It's in [the management's] hands at the moment," he said. "There are some meetings going on behind closed doors and we're waiting to see the outcome of those.
"But from the team's perspective his integration will be easy. Ultimately we're playing cricket and we want guys who will score runs and take catches to help England win. Whatever's happened has happened.
"We pride ourselves on being a strong dressing room and I'm sure that if he came back for India or New Zealand, or whenever it is, that things will be fine within the team.
"I've not spoken to Kev since the Headingley Test match, but I'd have no problems playing with him or having a beer with him. It's not an issue. Once the England management have decided when he's available to return, he'll be welcomed back into the changing room. We know he's a great cricketer, he's won a lot of trophies and has been a really good team-mate for England, certainly ever since I've been playing for them. We know that when KP's focused on playing for England and he's happy, he's a really dangerous player."
The intriguing possibility of Pietersen facing his former county Hampshire in the Champions League next week has disappeared after they were beaten by Auckland in Pretoria in their first qualifying match. Delhi and all the other Indian Premier League franchises automatically qualify for the competition proper but Hampshire now have no chance of joining them whatever the result of their next match against Sialkot Stallions.
Kevin Curran, a Zimbabwean all-rounder who made a major impact on county cricket with Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire, has died at the age of 53. Curran, who had become a Zimbabwe selector and coached the Mashonaland Eagles, collapsed when out jogging, a major shock as he was renowned for his physical fitness.
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image: © Graham Dean