Kevin Pietersen has never been one to shy away from controversy, but his latest well-publicised comments regarding England proved another reminder of a feud that has been as unnecessary as it has bitter.
Pietersen’s comments seem entirely incongruous with his claims that he would love to play Test cricket again, and he appears to have finally severed any remaining ties with the England team.
Whenever it looks as though England might be ready to move forward from that ill-fated Ashes winter almost a year ago, his shadow looms large.
KP sensationally lashed out at his former team mates, alleging there was a ‘bullying culture’ within the Three Lions camp.
The treatment of inexperienced players was “horrendous” and “hugely disturbing”, he told The Daily Telegraph, insisting newcomers were frightened to field because of the bowlers’ attitude.
He also slammed former head coach Andy Flower, who was replaced by Peter Moores earlier this year.
“He built a regime, he didn’t build a team. He was the boss. He wanted me to fear him.”
Swann and Prior hit back
In response, Graeme Swann has described Pietersen’s forthcoming autobiography as a work of fiction.
Prior, who is looking to return to the England fold, took to Twitter to vent his dismay at being pointed out as one of the alleged ringleaders, tweeting: “Obviously sad to see the accusations against me…I will have my right of reply.”
Surprisingly, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have yet to comment on the remarks, though they have explained they were not even given a copy of the book prior to its release on Thursday.
Praise for Cook
One of the few men Pietersen does seem to have time for is captain Alastair Cook, for whom he has “great admiration”.
Cook has endured an extremely difficult summer, which Pietersen feels is unwarranted, even though the former was part of the ECB meeting that terminated the latter’s international career.
Though that career was not without incident – he was sent to rehabilitation meetings after sending team information to South African opponents and was stripped of the captaincy – there was no need for it to come to this.
Such grievances could and should have been ironed out at a much earlier date, rather than at a time when several of the players being accused have since retired.
His Surrey team mate Chris Tremlett, who has also featured intermittently for England over the years – has given his backing to KP’s version of events, but the overwhelming sense pervading the game is one of disappointment at how the situation has been managed.
It seems England have made very little progress in the Pietersen case, even a year on. It will be hard to bounce back from the claims, particularly as is it impossible to tell the impact they will have on young players who are called into the squad.
On Pietersen’s part, the book release may bring closure. For England, old wounds have been opened up which Peter Moores will no doubt find difficult to heal.