Kevin Pietersen was coaxed into sending text messages about his team-mates to members of the South Africa squad, says England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier.
Pietersen was but after apologising.
"These were responses to messages from members of the South African team. I certainly think that did provoke the situation," Collier told Sportsweek.
"There was definitely a policy. There was a tactic that was used."
A Cricket South Africa representative responded: "That is rubbish. That is not the case at all. No one was trying to rile KP."
Pietersen was left out of the final Test between the countries in August and then
He allegedly sent messages to members of the opposition criticising then England captain Andrew Strauss during the
The messages were not saved to prove the exact wording, so the ECB relied on "binding assurances" from Pietersen that they were not derogatory before accepting his apology and handing him a new four-month contract.
"Those messages were of a nature that Kevin, with definite hindsight, would have refuted straight away and moved on," Collier told BBC Sport.
And the England cricket chief added that the South Africans had to shoulder some responsibility for prompting him to send the texts.
"It is trying to undermine another team and another team ethic. There would probably be mixed feelings [for South Africa]," insisted Collier.
"Certain feelings to say 'maybe it worked', other feelings that 'we actually might have disrupted a player and we would have been unhappy had it been one of ours'.
"But we shouldn't blame the South Africans, we should be above that, we should be able to deal with that and move forward."
Pietersen will undergo a reintegration period involving face-to-face meetings to rebuild trust with the other players.
Team director Andy Flower will then decide when he feels the 32-year-old batsman should return to the squad.
"It was the players themselves who actually said 'we think the time is right now for Kevin to come back into the dressing room'," said Collier. "They're not saying 'we don't like him'.
"When Andy Flower says to me 'I am ready to select this player' I would trust his judgment every single time.
"Andy would not have made the recommendation to me that he wanted us to reconsider Kevin if it had been unmanageable.
"We believe we have got the best team director there's ever been in world cricket and if there's one player who can manage these situations it is Andy Flower.