Image courtesy of: The Daily Mail
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has dismissed accusations from Graeme Swann that his autobiography is nothing more than a work of fiction.
In his autobiography, Pietersen revealed that ex-head coach Andy Flower ruled by fear and wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior had been a “bad influence” on everyone in the England dressing room, especially captain Alastair Cook.
“I stand by everything,” Pietersen told Sky Sports. “I haven’t written a book of fiction, it’s based on facts and I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve written.
“He [Prior] was portrayed to be the peacemaker, but he was embarrassing in Australia. He didn’t help himself with the way he conducted himself and manipulated the dressing room.
“I’ve drawn this horrible stigma that has been attached to me about being selfish, about being Billy Big-Shot – when I look around the dressing room I just think if there was a podium for egos, I wouldn’t be on the podium. That’s why I needed to put the record straight.”
Pietersen also conceded that Flower never made him feel welcome after he was reintegrated into the squad following the ‘text-gate’ scandal in 2012.
The South African-born batsman added that he still helps his former team-mates when they are having trouble with their batting or bowling and also gives them advice on how to face certain bowlers.
“We just didn’t get on – he made me feel ostracised, he didn’t like me from day dot,” he said. “It’s a sad way to end a career, because I’ve had an amazing career. I’ve played with some brilliant players. It makes me happy to see the young players doing so well this summer. I had the opportunity to work with these guys, help them, make them better players – spending time with Rooty (Joe Root) on his first tour in India – hours I spent helping him play spin.
“In Australia I spent time helping the bowlers with their technique – the bowlers were saying to me ‘we don’t have a technique here, we just get told to score runs and we don’t know how’, so I spent hours in Alice Springs helping them – that’s the stuff I love.
“I get messages the night before internationals saying ‘how should I play this guy?’. I’m lying on my sofa at home and the sad thing is I’d love to batting with that guy the next day, be in the dressing room talking about it because I would still add value. That’s what I miss the most.
“I wouldn’t have made the allegations if there was no basis to prove they were right. It’s sad, really sad. I’ve had the most incredible journey with English cricket. I have to be thankful to the ECB for giving me the opportunity to play at the highest level, to live the dream, to achieve some amazing things. It’s been fantastic. I would have loved my book to be more about cricket.
“Anybody who loves English cricket is probably in a dark place right now, because it’s not a good place to be.”