Strauss says Pietersen is "contrite"

Former England captain Andrew Strauss has spoken for the first time about the controversies surrounding his departure from the captaincy after the Test series against South Africa.

Talking to The Guardian, Strauss admitted that he regretted not clearing up the Kevin Pietersen texting affair before quitting, but he felt his batting form was no longer good enough to merit a place in the Test side. He was uncomfortable leaving the issue to team manager Andy Flower and new captain Alastair Cook.

"I felt guilty not sorting it before I left," Strauss said. "I didn't want to leave it on Andy Flower's plate and I felt uncomfortable with Cooky having to deal with it as one of his first tasks.”

Strauss was generous about Pietersen. "I don't think anyone got to the bottom of the text messaging saga," he said. "Kevin has since come up to me and apologised for it and I respect that. He seemed contrite and I think he was sincere."

Typically, Strauss took the time to write individually to each player in the Test squad to explain his decision. "It dawned upon me how much like a second family the England team has been to me in recent years. You spend so much time together – probably sharing more nights with them than your wife. It's hard to let go."

Appropriately enough, Pietersen got a text rather than a letter. "That was a strange time for the two of us," Strauss said. "A lot had happened and during that period we were quite estranged from each other."

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