Kevin Pietersen blasts ‘bullying’ England culture

2014-10-06 10:04

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London – Kevin Pietersen has hit out at the “horrendous” bullying of some of his former England team-mates and accused former coach Andy Flower of “ruling by fear”.

Despite being England’s all-time leading run-scorer across all formats, the South Africa-born batsman was sensationally axed after the team’s 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia in 2013-2014.

The England and Wales Cricket Board gave several convoluted explanations as to why their former captain had been discarded, citing the need to “support” current skipper Alastair Cook as a central reason.

In an interview with today’s Daily Telegraph, to promote an autobiography due to be published on Thursday, Pietersen said he still did not understand why he was effectively sacked.

He added that Cook had been put in an “incredibly difficult position” by the cricket board, following his banishment from the team.

Despite everything Pietersen – who has scored more than 8 000 runs in 104 Tests, including 23 hundreds at an average of nearly 48, insisted he had not given up hope of representing England again even though he played no County Championship cricket for Surrey last season.

“Why was I sacked? I would love to know,” he said.

Pietersen (34) added that he was shocked by the way senior bowlers Graeme Swann (now retired), Stuart Broad and James Anderson as well as currently injured wicketkeeper Matt Prior abused fielders for dropping catches.

“The thing that horrified me was when Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss said: ‘Guys we’ve got to stop this, it’s not right for the team, there are guys who have come to [us] who are intimidated to field the ball.’

“And [the bowlers] had the audacity to stand there and say: ‘No, if they’ve f*cked up we deserve an apology.’ It’s the most angry I ever got in that dressing room.

“I thought, ‘I reckon I could hit these guys. Who do you think you are, to ask for an apology from someone who’s trying his heart out? Are you perfect, are you never going to drop a catch? Are you never going to bowl a wide?’

“But the double standard for me was the bigger thing. If one of them messed up – if Jimmy messed up, or Swanny – nothing was ever said. Prior left them alone.

“He never left alone [Nick] Compton or Ravi [Bopara] or Trotty [Jonathan Trott].

“I went after Prior and said Prior shouldn’t be in that side because he’s a bad influence, a negative influence – he picks on players. He’s back-stabbing, he’s horrendous, he’s bad for the environment.”

Pietersen, denying he was an “awkward” character, said his biggest “offence” had been to stand up to former Zimbabwe batsman Flower.

“I told him on numerous occasions: ‘You’re playing by fear here, you want guys to be scared of you. And Andy I’m not scared of you.’ And he hated it.”

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