London – Kevin Pietersen has been dropped from England's squad for the third Test against South Africa after the controversial batsman was caught up in a text message row.
England's selectors made their decision to axe Pietersen following reports he sent text messages to several South Africa players during the second Test at Headingley that were believed to contain derogatory comments about English captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower.
Jonny Bairstow has been selected in place of Pietersen, whose involvement in the final Test at Lord's, which England must win to draw the series and retain their place on top of the world rankings, had been in doubt throughout a dramatic week.
South Africa-born Pietersen suggested after the second Test that he might walk away from the sport at the end of the current series because he had grown disillusioned with what he perceived as problems in the England squad.
But on Saturday night he appeared to have a change of heart when he posted a video on YouTube in which he agreed to make himself available again for his adopted country in all formats after recently opting out of one-day action.
That wasn't enough to convince the selectors though, who remained furious about the texting controversy, and Pietersen's international career now looks in tatters.
Hugh Morris, the Managing Director of England Cricket, said: “During the past week we have held several discussions with Kevin Pietersen and his advisors.
“Following a constructive meeting it was agreed that a number of actions needed to be completed to re-engage Kevin within the England dressing room.
“A fundamental item was to confirm publicly that no derogatory texts had been sent by Kevin to the South African team.
“This has not been forthcoming despite clear timelines being set to allow the Selectors to pick the squad for the third Test Match.
“We provided an additional six hours this morning (Sunday) to provide every opportunity for agreement to be reached but regrettably this has not been possible.
“The success of the England team has been built on a unity of purpose and trust. Whilst we have made every attempt to find a solution to enable Kevin to be selected we have sadly had to conclude that, in the best interest of the team, he will miss the Lord's Test.” Here is a summary of the controversial batsman's career:
Born: June 27, 1980
Birthplace: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
1997-98: Makes first-class debut for Natal as an all-rounder.
2001: Joins Nottinghamshire with a view to qualifying as an England player, having become frustrated with the quota selection system in South Africa.
2003: Averages more than 50 for the third season running but becomes disenchanted with his county employers and threatens to sue for unfair dismissal, even though relegated Nottinghamshire insist he has not been sacked.
2005: Joins the England squad for the one-day series against his native South Africa.
2005: Registers maiden century with 108 in the second match in Bloemfontein. Scores further centuries in East London and Centurion. Becomes the fastest man in history to reach 500 one-day international runs.
2005: Scores 57 and 64 on Test debut against Australia, then hits century to rescue England, who claim the Ashes with a draw in the final Test at The Oval.
2006: Becomes the first batsman since 1990 to score a century in three successive Test innings on English soil with 142 against Sri Lanka.
2007: Posts his highest score of 226 in the second Test against the West Indies at Headingley.
2008: Replaces Michael Vaughan as Test captain and Paul Collingwood as one-day skipper, leading England to a 4-0 thrashing of South African in the one-day series.
2009: Reports of a rift between Pietersen and coach Peter Moores surface and he resigns as England captain.
November 2010-January 2011: On top form in England's Ashes series win in Australia, with the highlight a career-best 227 in Adelaide.
2012: Fined by the ECB for a Twitter outburst against Sky commentator Nick Knight.
2012: Retires from one-day and Twenty20 internationals.
2012: Casts doubt on his Test future, claiming "obstacles" must be overcome in order for him to continue beyond the third Test against South Africa at Lord's.
2012: Declares his intention to represent England in all forms of cricket on YouTube, but is dropped from England squad for third Test. – AFP