Andrew Strauss and Sky Sports have issued an apology after the former England captain was heard calling Kevin Pietersen a 'c***' by overseas viewers during the Bicentenary Celebration game at Lord's between MCC and the Rest of the World.

Sky's English viewers were in the middle of an advertising break, and Strauss, 37, was under the impression that he was off-air.

However, the channel's feed was being broadcast in various other countries, including on the Fox Sports App in Australia, and viewers heard the comment from the back of the commentary box.

The world of social media was quick to pounce upon Strauss, with Piers Morgan, a well-known Pietersen fan, tweeting "If Strauss story is true then he'll have to be fired, surely? Or is a commentator calling @KP24 a 'c**t' on air acceptable @SkyCricket?"

Sky TV also felt obliged to apologise for Strauss' outburst, although only for the bad language involved. It tweeted: "Earlier comments were made during a break of play which were heard overseas. We apologise for the language used."

Pietersen's fans will be only further angered by what they perceive to be double standards in English cricket at this point in time; in 2012, Pietersen was famously dropped for calling Strauss, then his captain, a 'doos', an Afrikaans word meaning idiot, in text messages to various members of the South African dressing room.

Paul Downton, the Managing Direction of England cricket, has since called Pietersen "a man of too many agendas" and claimed he did not have a single supporter in the side.

Despite Pietersen's denial of this statement, he was recently told that he was no longer part of the national team's plans after the disastrous Ashes series, and has not appeared for an England team since.

However, the Surrey and Delhi Daredevils man recently admitted he would happily return to the national setup.

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