London, Jul 17: England do not need distractions days before their crucial Test series against India but that could be just the case as controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen has rekindled the debate over the prevalence of South African-born cricketers in English cricket set-up.
A diary published by Australian cricketer Ed Cowan has claimed that Pietersen had reacted angrily to being called ''English'' during England''s match against Australia ''A'', saying "I''m not English, I just work here".
Pietersen is one player who sports a tattoo of the Three Lions, the symbol of English cricket, on his arm.
Pietersen, born in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa, will be one of four players from South Africa -- alongside captain Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott and wicketkeeper Matt Prior -- included today in the England squad for the first Test against India at Lord''s which starts on Thursday.
England have picked seven South African-born players in all forms of international cricket this season, with Craig Kieswetter and Jade Dernbach representing their adopted country in one-day cricket against Sri Lanka, and Michael Lumb opening the batting against the same opponents in the single T20.
According to ''Daily Mail'', Cowan wrote of an incident involving Pietersen during England''s match against Australia A.
Cowan wrote that Pietersen "was heard to exclaim, as he cast his eye over the lunch buffet: ''What the **** is this?"
Cowan told him that, being English, he should recognise bread-and-butter pudding when he saw it, to which he claimed Pietersen replied, "I'm not ****ing English, Eddie. I just work here!"
Pietersen's agent, Adam Wheatley, said that Cowan''s claim "doesn''t really warrant a response" while skipper Strauss laughed off the story, saying: "If he did say that, I''m sure he said it in jest."