Flower hints at Pietersen peace deal

Andy Flower, right, hopes the Kevin Pietersen saga is nearing a positive end

Andy Flower, right, hopes the Kevin Pietersen saga is nearing a positive end

First published in National Sport News © by

Beaten champions England will be back home from their failed ICC World Twenty20 campaign by the time they are any the wiser as to whether Kevin Pietersen may soon be a team-mate again.

Coach Andy Flower was on Tuesday morning required both to assess England's early elimination and make public utterance for the first time in more than a month on Pietersen's contractual status.

Flower said: "The situation is ongoing. I think it's nearing an end now - in a positive way, I hope. There's been a lot of formal communication between the ECB and Kevin - and there will be a press conference, I would imagine in the next 36 hours, which will enlighten you a little further. Let's just get over that first hurdle."

The South Africa-born batsman was unavailable for England's defence of their World Twenty20 crown because of his well-chronicled contract wrangles and the breakdown of his working relationship with Flower and former Test captain Andrew Strauss.

It is understood, however, peace may have broken out - and Pietersen assured one follower on Twitter on Tuesday that he will be "back soon". Flower added: "We don't close doors to anyone. If we get over that first stage and get some of the formal legal proceedings out of the way, then we'll get on to the cricket."

Flower does not try to pretend Pietersen's skills were not missed in a faltering campaign which ended for England with Super Eight defeat against Sri Lanka at Pallekele on Monday night.

"Of course," he said. "But he wasn't available for this tournament when we selected the side. The fact of the matter is we didn't play well enough.

"Last night was a quarter-final, effectively, and we weren't good enough to beat Sri Lanka on their home soil. There were little sparks of positive play, but they were more streetwise than us and obviously deserved to win. It's sad we're leaving this early, but that is a fact of life."

Flower traces England's troubles to their record defeat against India nine days ago - a 90-run trouncing which did not halt progress there and then, but sowed doubts.

"I think the loss against India knocked the confidence a little," he said. "But we made the second round, and then won only one of those three matches - so we didn't deserve to get through."

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