Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive David Collier has defended ex-head coach Andy Flower as a man of “superb integrity” after Kevin Pietersen claimed that he ruled by fear in his autobiography.
Pietersen also stated that players never answered back to Flower since they were afraid of the repercussions.
“No accusation of bullying was ever made to me,” Collier told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme. “In any professional sport certain managers and leaders do have intensity from time to time. People that we respect as some of the greatest football managers have been known to be fairly robust in dressing rooms. Andy is an intensely passionate man, he has the most superb integrity.
“There is no way we could have had the success over his long and successful period if there hadn’t been huge respect within that dressing room. In any professional sport players will get frustrated with each other – that’s a fact of life. I didn’t see that as in any way affecting the team atmosphere.”
Collier also agreed with captain Alastair Cook’s views about Pietersen having tarnished one of England’s golden eras.
“That team was very, very close as a team and one of the frustrations at the moment for some of the senior players is they have created so much for English cricket over the past decade that they want that to be remembered,” Collier said. “One of the reasons why is that they were all perfectionists, and if you want perfection you have to be hard on yourself.”
Meanwhile, former pace bowler Stephen Harmison revealed that, even though he has nothing but respect for both Flower and Pietersen, the national team was run like a “dictatorship”.
“KP and I played on the same team for many years. I always got on with him and I’d like to think he liked me. He is a great lad, no matter what some say,” Harmison wrote in his column for the Chronicle. “I enjoyed playing under Andy and he was honest with me when my time with England was coming to an end. Both are strong personalities and neither are in the habit of backing down. It was always a brittle relationship.
“However, there is some truth in the accusation, made in the book, that Andy ran it like a dictatorship. Last year, Stuart Broad openly admitted in an interview that every time Andy’s number came up on his phone, he would s*** himself. His immediate thought was what had he done wrong, why was he in trouble. When he came to the conclusion that he was OK, then he’d pick up.
“And this is England’s T20 captain and a star bowler. Stuart was scared of the coach. That’s not good. How did the younger guys feel?”