Taylor opens up about rift with Pietersen

James Taylor rift Kevin Pietersen autobiography Cut Short England cricket

James Taylor: “They say never meet your heroes, and if ever there was a classic case, KP was it”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Former England batsman James Taylor has revealed how he grew to hate sharing a dressing room with Kevin Pietersen.

Taylor, whose career was cut short after he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), made the revelation in his autobiography, ‘Cut Short‘.

In his autobiography, Taylor pointed out that he has “no respect” for Pietersen and even branded England’s fifth-highest run-scorer in Tests as “embarrassing”.

The issue between Taylor and Pietersen began back in 2012, where Taylor claims that Pietersen immediately had a problem with him being in the England team.

“I try not to have preconceived ideas about people and so always intended on giving KP a chance,” Taylor wrote in his autobiography as quoted by cricket.com.au. “But the early encounters hadn’t been good.”

Taylor also recalled that when he and Pietersen first met, the latter said: “What are you doing here?”

The 28-year-old added that Pietersen then walked away and completely ignored him during another training session.

“Whether he was trying to intimidate me and be the big man, or it was him feeling threatened by me, I don’t know,” Taylor wrote. “But this was before I’d even met him properly or shared a dressing room. He didn’t know me from a bar of soap but that was how he chose to be.

“They say never meet your heroes, and if ever there was a classic case, KP was it. I loved the way he played. One of my goals was to play alongside him. But on both occasions I came away thinking, ‘What a t***’.”

Taylor made his Test debut with Pietersen against South Africa at Headingley in 2012 and even amassed a 147-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

However, while Taylor made a solid 34 off 104 balls, Pietersen went on the offensive and struck a magnificent 149.

“I batted fairly cautiously as we built a partnership, reflecting the position of the game, but KP was having none of that,” Taylor wrote. “He provided an amazing display of hitting at the other end, awesome stroke play of a kind that only he was capable.

“As the other batsman, it’s not like you can stand and stare dumbstruck and say ‘Oh my God!’, but make no mistake, I was enjoying watching. It was a proper fireworks display, to the extent that a little bit of me was thinking, ‘What are you doing, mate? We need to keep our heads down and keep batting!’

“Contrary to the sheer wizardry of KP’s flashing bat, his conversation wasn’t quite so tantalising. As the partnership progressed, he didn’t talk down to me but was super arrogant. Facing Tahir, KP sauntered down the wicket. ‘I’m just debating how far to hit this next one,’ he said.”

Following that match, which ended as a draw, Pietersen shocked the cricketing community when he announced at the post-match press conference that he may retire from Test cricket after the series.

Recounting that particular incident, Taylor admitted that he was appalled by Pietersen’s actions.

“It was hard to take in. Playing for England had been my absolute dream,” he wrote. “Now, having done it, my overriding thoughts were utter disbelief as to how Kevin had behaved in that press conference. Put simply, I found his antics embarrassing.

“Even before the game had even started, he was telling the coaches and other players I shouldn’t be in the team, and then that continued during the game itself, despite the fact that my support at the other end had allowed him to play one of the greatest knocks of his career. It explained his attitude prior to the game. While others were welcoming me, helping me settle in, Kev was giving me nothing.

“(Pietersen’s opinion of me) makes me laugh. If Andrew Strauss had said those things about me, it would have been awful. It would have really affected me, because I had so much respect for him.

“Kevin Pietersen? I couldn’t care less because I don’t respect him. Kevin is a big fish and what came out of his mouth made about as much sense.”

Touching on the parody Twitter account that was created under Pietersen’s name, Taylor made it clear that he had little sympathy for the 37-year-old.

It was later revealed that the account was run by one of pace bowler Stuart Broad’s close friends. There was also a lot of speculation that senior members in the England side had been involved.

“I’m not blind to how KP must have felt. I can see that it would be a horrible position for him to be in, to feel alone in the dressing room, but it was a position he’d brought on himself,” Taylor wrote. “His presence had long been divisive and had caused serious disjointedness to the side.

“Add in a tough series against South Africa, losing the first Test heavily, the lads being tired, and one massive ego stamping around in the middle of it all and it was a powder keg just waiting to be ignited.

“The England dressing room at that time wasn’t in a good place. KP at that point just didn’t seem a team player. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I first experienced being in the same team as him. I couldn’t believe how he behaved or how he didn’t do anything. The scales had well and truly fallen from my eyes.”

Leave a Reply