Andrew Strauss has attempted to heal the wounds opened by Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography, insisting the England team should be proud of its achievements over the past decade.
The former Three Lions captain was himself involved in a number of feuds with Pietersen during their playing days together, but he has come out in defence of Andy Flower and Matt Prior, who were heavily criticised in the book.
“Matt Prior had a massive impact on the England cricket team, both with the bat and behind the scenes”, he told Sky Sports.
A number of other high-profile figures have also backed Prior, particularly as his international career is not necessarily over; the Sussex wicket-keeper relieved himself of England duty temporarily in the summer due to ongoing battles with injury. Strauss aded:
“He was very much the embodiment of the culture we were trying to introduce in the team, which was one of putting the team first.”
That culture has come under more scrutiny than ever in the last few days, but Strauss, who was such an influential part of the team for so long, believes that Flower had only a positive effect on the dressing room during his tenure. “If you look at Andy Flower’s record as coach, it’s second to none,” he explained.
Picking up the pieces
Ironically, it is Flower’s successor Peter Moores who has to pick up the pieces from Pietersen’s rampage. The likes of Strauss are no longer around to help with that ominous task, but the former opener has at least weighed in with some words of comfort to aid what, at present, seems like a traumatised England setup. It remains to be seen what impact the saga will have on the team’s on-field performance, with a tour of Sri Lanka not far away.
Surprisingly, Strauss even found time to praise Pietersen, seemingly overlooking their fallout when the latter sent derogatory messages about his captain to South African opposition.
“Kevin Pietersen was one of England’s finest players, he played some of England’s most memorable innings and he deserves to be very proud of what he’s achieved in an England shirt”, he went on.
It is almost a year since KP last appeared in a Test match, and it is hard to think of a comparable situation where an exiled player has continued to overshadow the rest of the squad. Strauss’ comments are some of the few that look to finally draw the affair to a close.