Cricket - Strauss 'mortified' after 'C-word' Pietersen insult goes out on air

Former England captain Andrew Strauss has apologised for an offensive comment he made about Kevin Pietersen when he thought he was off the air while commentating at Lord’s.

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Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen in happier times (PA Sport)

Strauss was heard by Australian Fox Sports viewers calling Pietersen a “c***” during the MCC v Rest of the World fixture. He was discussing his former England colleague with his fellow commentator Nick Knight in the bluntest of terms, believing – mistakenly – that an advertising break was taking place all around the world. The comments were not heard by Sky viewers in Britain.

The former England captain apologised on air later. “I apologise unreservedly, particularly to Kevin Pietersen,” he said. “I am mortified and profusely sorry.”

Pietersen was playing for a Rest of the World XI against MCC in a Lord's bicententary showpiece, with Strauss on commentary duty when he was at the crease.

Sky tweeted an apology via its Sky Sports Cricket platform: "Earlier comments were made during a break of play which were heard overseas. We apologise for the language used."

Piers Morgan, a close friend of Pietersen and a champion of his cause on social media since he was sacked by the ECB in February, called for Strauss to lose his job.

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Morgan's latter comments refer to a troubled past between the former team-mates.

In 2012 Pietersen was dropped after sending messages to friends in the touring South Africa side which he admitted were "provocative".

Those messages were reported to be highly critical of Strauss, though suggestions that they included advice on how to get the opener out have been denied by Pietersen.

After a dramatic draw with the Proteas at Headingley, Pietersen started a memorably tetchy press conference by declaring he would not wait for skipper Strauss, who was also due to speak.

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Speaking after the incident, Pietersen said: "I apologise to Straussy and the team for the inappropriate remarks at the press conference and for the texts. I truly didn't mean to cause upset or tension. I need to rein myself in sometimes."

Strauss, who retired soon after, reflected on the issue in his autobiography, Driving Ambition. He wrote: "For me, he had crossed the line. He seemed to be at best destabilising and at worst undermining our carefully cultivated team environment.

"I did...have issues with him criticising me to the opposition. That felt like talking out of school, not to mention giving the opposition a way to drive a wedge between Pietersen and myself and the team."

Strauss has been conciliatory about Pietersen in much of his commentary work but it seems he may have been concealing less savoury views.

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