Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has called on England and Kevin Pietersen to "sort it out and move on" after another controversial week.
After playing a starring role in the drawn second Investec Test against South Africa at Headingley, Pietersen refused to give assurances that next week's series finale at Lord's will not be his last Test.
The issue is sure to dominate the build-up to a Test England must win if they are to remain ahead of the Proteas at the top of the International Cricket Council Test rankings.
And Flintoff told Sky Sports News: "I suppose it's up to the ECB and Kevin to sort it out. They need to get in a room, sort it out and move on because I imagine Andy Flower and his team want it resolved.
"Any side with Kevin Pietersen in it is a better side, whether that's the one-day side, Twenty20 or the Test side."
Pietersen has already retired from limited-overs internationals owing to concerns over England's relentless schedule and he is known to be keen on a full season in the Indian Premier League.
He has played truncated roles in past seasons for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils, and the fact that the next edition of the tournament clashes with England's spring Test series against New Zealand is thought to be a factor in Pietersen's unhappiness.
But Flintoff said: "For me Test cricket was the ultimate format of the game - you can have your IPL and Twenty20 but having success in Test cricket, and the satisfaction of performing well as a player within the Test team, was the ultimate.
"It's an honour to play for your country, I wish I was still able to do that."
Reports have also suggested that the relationship between Pietersen and some of his colleagues in the England dressing room is among the "obstacles" he admitted must be overcome if he is to remain an international cricketer.
And Flintoff said: "In the dressing room, you've got a squad of 14 and the only thing you have in common is you all play cricket.
"That doesn't mean you're all going to get on - what's important is you come together on the pitch.
"When you're performing well it's a tight unit, it's when you're getting beaten that those relationships are tested.
"When your backs are against the wall - and England's are a bit, at the moment - they need to unite as a team and perform next week."