Kevin Pietersen's days as an England player may now be over, and Frank Gregan can't understand why he and the ECB have failed to find a solution.
Kevin Pietersen's knock on day three of the second Test is one that will stay in the memory bank for a long time to come.
It was majestical, achieved against a fierce bowling attack that was steaming in, entirely focussed on capturing the English wicket that they value the most. It was a classic case of 'cometh the hour''.
KP gets heaps of stick because of his ego problems but one thing is not open to debate: his enormous talent.
The pundits had called it a flat wicket at Headingley but there had been enough uneven bounce to unsettle and undo most of England's top order. It was going to need something special to get England back in the Test match and that is exactly what England's best player is - something very special.
Sadly, as with many other phenomenal sporting talents, Pietersen doesn't always fit the stereotypical professional that the authorities would like to have under their control. KP is his own man and having lost the captaincy after going head to head with the ECB, he looks set to miss England's defence of their T20 title in Sri Lanka which gets underway next month That's a real shame for cricket fans all over the world and for the tournament, the best players in the world should compete for world titles and KP is very definitely one of the world's best.
It comes back to the old cliché, no individual is more important than the team. That's a given but there has to be sound man-management of the higher profile, more talented and egotistical players that are subject of big money bids from other tournaments. The ECB have made their stance and there are lots out there that agree with them but it looks likely to be a case of both parties cutting off their noses to spite their face.
The headlines when England announced their decision were all pro ECB and that is bound to have infuriated KP. There's two sides to every story and whilst the ECB's stance is understandable, the 'it's our way or no way' stance that they have adopted is bound to have infuriated the highly sensitive Pietersen and could result in a lose-lose situation.
The role of the ECB and its management is to ensure the best team represents England and if a concession has to be given here and there as long as it's handled well and doesn't harm the team spirit, then so be it. Man-management is a difficult skill, it's why they get paid the big bucks. Any poor supervisor can adopt a "computer says no" stance.
The central contracts are issued in September and there's a chance that Kevin Pietersen may say 'thanks but no thanks' to the ECB and take a leaf out of Chris Gayle's book and spend a couple of years as a free agent, a very expensive gun for hire. There is still time to settle the dispute without too much jumping through hoops: he could be added to the T20 squad and take his place in Sri Lanka without much fuss before the next squad-naming deadline on August 18. But it seems that the ECB are adamant that nothing short of an unconditional surrender from KP will do the trick. It's a very dangerous game of brinkmanship and one that when viewed from the outside makes you want to bang heads together.
Given that scenario it's possible that the third Test which gets underway next Thursday at Lords could be Pietersen's last. That's not a shame or a pity, it's stubbornness gone mad!
England's bowlers taking 20 wickets in a match used to be as predictable as 'rain stops play' this summer but they struggled against the class of the South Africans.
Given that it was only a superb knock by Kevin Pietersen that kept England in the second Test and how the Proteas dominated the first encounter, the value has to be backing South Africa to win.