Kevin Pietersen's England career ended because of a complete lack of trust between him and team management, according to former captain Andrew Strauss.
Terms have been agreed for the severance of Pietersen's central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board, effectively bringing the curtain down on a controversial but brilliant international career.
It has been reported that the ECB will shortly reveal the reasons for its jettisoning of Pietersen in the wake of a humiliating Ashes whitewash. Strauss does not believe one single incident will have been the trigger for the parting of the ways, and thinks it is more a cumulation of events that has led to trust on both sides being totally eroded.
He wrote in The Sunday Times: "Without trust, the team environment is stillborn. It is for this reason that Kevin Pietersen's international career had to be brought to an end.
"The media have been searching for a 'smoking gun'. Everyone is looking for disciplinary problems, bust-ups and character clashes, but they are looking for the wrong thing. The smoking gun is the total absence of trust."
Strauss pinpointed Pietersen's dismissal as captain in 2009 as the start of the breakdown, and described the 'reintegration' process which followed his exile from the team after some derogatory texts were sent to South African players about Strauss as being "a little like marriage counselling".
He added: "What happened in Australia from November onwards, when the heat of the furnace was fixed on the embattled side, was that old grievances came back to the surface. Past history weighed too heavily. Trust still did not exist.
"His relationship with English cricket has been like an illicit affair. Full of thrills and excitement but destined to end in tears."