Kevin Pietersen claims ‘bullying’ culture existed in England squad

South African claims former team director Andy Flower ‘had it in for me’

  Kevin Pietersen (left) claims Andy Flower (right) “had it in for me” throughout his five-year reign in charge of England.  Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Kevin Pietersen (left) claims Andy Flower (right) “had it in for me” throughout his five-year reign in charge of England. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

 

Kevin Pietersen claims Andy Flower “had it in for me” throughout his five-year reign in charge of England.

Pietersen has been highly critical of Flower in his autobiography ‘KP’, saying the former team director allowed a “bullying” culture to fester in the England squad.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Pietersen again hit out again at Flower, who took charge of England in 2009 having previously been assistant to Peter Moores.

“I didn’t have a great relationship with the coach throughout his reign as England coach,” Pietersen said. “I think he had it in for me ever since he took over because when I was captain I didn’t think he was doing the second-in-command job really well.

“And when I said to the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) to just let me step down as captain and let Peter Moores continue, I gave my views on the coaching structure and I said that I didn’t think Andy Flower was fulfilling his role as the second-in-command properly.

“And then he got given the number one job, and it certainly felt the way that he treated me throughout his coaching reign that he was looking to try and find ways to get rid of me.”

Pietersen, whose autobiography was released to the media on Monday and due to go on general sale on Thursday, was controversially sacked eight months ago after England’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia, with Flower having stepped down from his post just days previously.

Pietersen insists he still does not know the reasons for that decision, and again scoffed at suggestions from ECB managing director Paul Downton earlier this year that he appeared “disinterested” during the tour Down Under.

The South Africa-born batsman said: “When they sacked me they never gave me any of these reasons. I still don’t know why I’m not playing for England. I’ve never been told. I’ve been told ‘cricketing reasons’. Well, ‘cricketing reasons’? ‘disinterested’?, can you be disinterested when you’re facing 95mph from Mitchell Johnson?

“Can you have been disinterested when I scored more runs than anybody else in Australia? How can you be disinterested when I committed myself to the team with a severe knee injury for those Ashes Test matches..?”

The 34-year-old’s career has not been short of controversy, and he admits he is not perfect.

When asked if he could have done something differently in the past and if some of the criticism might have anything in it, Pietersen said: “Absolutely. I think every single one of us has flaws. I think my biggest flaw here in this country over the last 10-15 years has been that I’m too honest, I’m too much of a straight-talker, and that I’m too opinionated if I think something has not been done in the right way.

“But one of the good things about that is if I’m wrong, I’ll always say I’m wrong. I don’t mind acknowledging that I was wrong.”

Pietersen has also not given up hope of adding to his 104 England Test caps - despite his former difficulties with coach Moores, who is now back at the helm of the national team - and says he has a “great relationship” with everybody in the current side.

He said: “I had difficulties (with Moores) when I was captain, when the ECB and the media leaked the stories that it was a ‘him or me’ scenario, it wasn’t him or me scenario. I said to the chairman of the ECB ‘let me just go back and bat, I can tolerate this if I bat but I can’t captain the team with Peter Moores’.”

He added: “I’ve got a great relationship with everybody in that team. When I did get sacked a lot of the youngsters that I worked with who are in the team at the moment all sent me messages just saying ‘I’m really sorry’. I’d like to be batting there with the guys and helping them bat. I miss it a lot.”

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