Botham: Pietersen issue should not have rumbled on like this

FORMER England captain Sir Ian Botham has insisted that the proposed return of Kevin Pietersen to the national side is likely to be a difficult process.

The controversial batsman yesterday signed a new four-month contract with England having agreed to undergo a “reintegration” period after being dropped from selection for critical text messages about then-captain Andrew Strauss to friends on the South African team during a Test series between the two sides.

Botham is not convinced about such a move’s potential success and believes it has been left too late for his return to be productive.

“This should have been sorted out months ago,” Botham said. “It’s dragged on and on and it’s very difficult for both parties, but that’s for him to sort out.

“I think he’s a world-class player but the thing is this should have been sorted out at the very beginning.

“The more it drags on, the more Chinese whispers, the more half-truths become truths.

“It needed to be nipped in the bud. It will be difficult now. He’ll have some work to do.”

Pietersen had said: “I believe, all being well, I will be back in an England shirt as soon as possible.”