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Collier apologises to South Africa over Pietersen remark

MYT 6:35:01 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - England cricket chief David Collier has been forced to apologise to South Africa after accusing their players of provoking Kevin Pietersen in the text message row that led to the batsman being dropped.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) were furious about the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive's comments last week and demanded he say sorry.

South African-born Pietersen was dropped by England for the third and final test between the two countries at Lord's in August after admitting sending provocative texts to the tourists but denying allegations he told them how to get captain Andrew Strauss out.

"Cricket South Africa has made clear to ECB that the electronic messages were not part of any initiative or plan to undermine the England team or players," an ECB statement said on Monday.

"ECB has unreservedly accepted that assurance and wishes to reiterate that it has no issue at all with CSA.

"Although the two boards do not agree on the sequence of events regarding any responses to messages between Kevin Pietersen and certain Proteas players, CSA and SACA (South African Cricketers' Association) accept Mr Collier's apology."

Pietersen has been dropped for this month's tour of India but could be recalled after agreeing to a "reintegration" period after apologising to the ECB and Strauss who retired after the Lord's test when South Africa took England's number one ranking.

Collier infuriated South Africa last week when trying to defend Pietersen.

"These texts were responses to messages from certain members of the South Africa team and I would not condone an England player doing it if it was the other way around and I certainly think they provoked the situation," he told BBC radio.

"I think there was a tactic which was used. I think that is sadly some of the ways of modern sport."

(Writing by Mark Meadows; editing by Tony Jimenez)

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