Former England captain Ian Botham has called on the England and Wales cricket Board and Kevin Pietersen to settle their differences ahead of the third Investec Test against South Africa at Lord's next week, and claims the stand-off "reflects poorly" on the game.

Pietersen has refused to give any assurances over his Test career beyond the match at Lord's, having talked about "obstacles" that needed to be overcome in order for him to continue after the drawn second match of the series at Headingley earlier this week.

But Botham would like to see the matter sorted out ahead of the final clash with the Proteas.

"Those sort of things should be dealt with in private between the people involved, not in the open in the run-up to a huge Test match," Botham said today.

"It reflects poorly on the team, poorly on the game and poorly on everyone involved. It must be sorted out like grown-ups."

Botham added: "They should not be airing their dirty linen in public."

But Angus Porter, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, believes Pietersen may not be able to solve his differences with the ECB.

"I can't see any immediate prospect of a rapprochement. He's likely to play next week but it becomes an issue with the next contracts in September," Porter said.

With Pietersen and many other international players drawn by the riches of the Indian Premier League , Porter believes the status of Test cricket within the game continues to be eroded.

"The primacy of Test cricket is well-intended but the practicalities are that the trend does not support that," he said.

It was reported today that one of the possible "obstacles" to Pietersen returning was a fake Twitter account called KP Genius, which pokes fun at the England international.

It is meant to be read as though written by Pietersen himself, and often refers to how brilliant a cricketer he is.

A typical post from Monday read: "The World hasn't experienced genius like KP's over the last few days since an apple fell on Isaac Newton's head."

Reports this morning claimed the Tweets could have come from within the England team or backroom staff, but the latest Tweet from KP Genius this morning read: "It doesn't take that woman from "Murder she wrote" to work out that this isn't a team mate of KP. I've been tweeting during Tests!"