London – South Africa's Jacques Kallis believes Kevin Pietersen will bounce back after his dramatic omission from the England Test side for this week's series finale against the Proteas at Lord's.
England's selectors made their decision to drop Pietersen following reports he sent text messages to several South Africa players during the drawn second Test at Headingley that were believed to contain derogatory comments about captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower.
Pietersen made a superb 149 at Headingley and averages nearly 50 in Test cricket yet neither of these factors were enough to spare him the axe.
However, Kallis – the outstanding all-rounder of his generation and whose Test batting average of 57.30 puts him among the all-time elite – is certain this is not the end of South Africa-born Pietersen's international career.
“I'm sure they'll sort it out,” Kallis said at Lord's on Tuesday. “He's too good a player to stay out of the international scene. I've no doubts they'll come to an agreement and something will be sorted out.
“These sorts of things are going to happen throughout his career, a few things have happened. I don't think it'll affect him, I think he'll bounce back and I think he's still got a lot of cricket ahead of him.”
Kallis, 36, said Pietersen's absence left England with a big hole to fill.
“He's a world-class player and he's proven that over many years and put in big performances for England so I'm sure he's going to be missed, but England's got some good players as well.”
South Africa lead this three-match series 1-0, after a crushing innings and 12-run win at The Oval where Kallis scored an unbeaten 182 and now only need to avoid defeat at Lord's, where play starts Thursday, to replace England at the top of the world Test rankings.
Kallis though remains wary of an England side he predicts will put the Pietersen saga to one side when the match begins.
“I think the guys are professional enough to get on with the job,” he said.
“Obviously they are going to want to come out and win the Test match, and once a Test match starts, whatever happened before that, the guys tend to put it behind them and just move forward and look forward.” – Sapa-AFP