Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has launched a scathing attack against ex-head coach Andy Flower and team-mate Matt Prior in his autobiography.
Pietersen noted that he was the only player who ever challenged Flower’s authority and even warned him about batsman Jonathan Trott’s problems before he returned home midway during the last Ashes series with a stress-related illness.
“I’ve been one of the only ones who’ve constantly through his reign as coach not said ‘how high?’ when he said ‘jump’,” Pietersen told the Daily Telegraph. “He built a regime, he didn’t build a team. I’ve told him this before.
“I told him during his coaching reign. 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. He had it in for me since I tried to get rid of him as second in command. He collected stamps. It was stamp after stamp after stamp, until he thought: ‘I can get rid of him now, let’s get rid of him.’
“I can look Andy Flower in the eye and say: ‘Andy, everything that’s in my book I told you to your face. Everything. So if you want to do anything about it, you could have done it ages ago.'”
In terms of Prior, Pietersen stated that the wicketkeeper-batsman was a “bad influence” in the dressing room and especially on captain Alastair Cook.
“I think he [Cook] is put in an incredibly difficult position by the ECB,” Pietersen said. “And I think he was fed stuff by Andy Flower, when I had that discussion in his room before the Sydney Test match. And I also think that because Alastair Cook isn’t the greatest speaker, Matt Prior was his sidekick who could talk the hind leg off a donkey.
“So he wanted him close to him. He wanted his vice-captain to do all his talking for him. So when 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 – and I’ve questioned Flower and the way he ran the team, Flower and Cook would have said you’ve got to get rid of this guy. He’s back-stabbing, he’s horrendous, he’s bad for the environment.
“I saw Jimmy [Anderson] on finals day and I was absolutely fine with Jimmy. I’d be fine with Broad. It’s only Prior that I’d seriously have real issues with, because of how he was portrayed as a team man, the heart and soul of the dressing room, when he was getting up to the stuff he was getting up to. And the two sides of the coin where I was the bad guy and doing everything wrong.”