London, Sep 1 (ANI): England team director Andy Flower has cleared controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen of hastening former captain Andrew Strauss' retirement from international cricket.
Flower would meet Pietersen on Saturday in a crucial meeting, which could play an important role in deciding the South Africa-born batsman's England future.
It will just be Flower and Pietersen who talk 'behind closed doors', the first meeting between the two parties following almost a month of bad blood which wrecked the final days of Strauss's England captaincy.
Strauss insisted when he resigned on Tuesday that the ongoing Pietersen row had nothing to do with his decision to retire, but Strauss was clearly drained by the whole issue, which eclipsed the run-up to his 100th and last Test.
Flower has sent a clear message to the other players that he has cleared Pietersen of any significant role in Strauss's retirement, which he accepts was down to a loss of form and enthusiasm for the job.
"I don't think Pietersen is the main factor in this at all, and Strauss has said that publicly and privately to me and I believe him," The Telegraph quoted Flower, as saying in an interview with a magazine.
"Andrew spoke to me a few weeks ago and I knew he was going to go away for a few days to think. It was the right thing for him to do because he needed to get away from the hullabaloo of everything around here," he added. (ANI)