LONDON: There were many villains in the England dressing-room but none was bigger than coach Andy Flower, Kevin Pietersen said as he launched a fresh attack on the man he blames for master-minding a covert operation to get rid of him.
Forty-eight hours of Flower-bashing did not seem enough to satisfy Pietersen as even when he was asked about his so-called ‘back-stabbing’ team mates or the England and Wales Cricket Board’s desire to produce “choir boy” players, the 34-year-old turned the focus back to his nemesis-in-chief.
Asked if things turned sour with his team mates due to a clash of personalities or jealousy, Pietersen told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday: “We’ll leave the team mates out of this for now and we’ll just talk about the coach (Flower).
“The coaching issue was a big issue. The coach didn’t like me.
Coach wanted me out. At any opportunity that he got he would collect his notes and he’d eventually get me one day.
It’s incredibly unfortunate that it ended the way it ended.”
Pietersen accused wicketkeeper Matt Prior and bowlers Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and James Anderson of forming a clique which made life miserable for other members of the team due to their bullying tactics.
But South-African born Pietersen was adamant that it was Flower who “let that clique grow like a bad weed and choke our team”.
“The team mates played a part in it because they were allowed to play a part in it. But a decent man manager, a decent coach would have sorted the situation out and none of this would ever have happened,” added Pietersen on the eve of the publication of his explosive biography – KP.
“If a great coach was in charge of England, none of this would have happened.”
Flower led England to the top of the world test rankings for a year from August 2011, master-minded three Ashes series victories and was coach when they won the World Twenty20 Cup in 2010.
Since making his England debut in a one-dayer in 2004, Pietersen’s on-pitch fireworks enabled him to amass 13,797 runs over 277 international matches to become England’s highest ever run scorer.
However, it is his inability to stop those sparks flying when he comes off the field that has made him persona non grata in the England set-up — with the axe falling on his career following the 5-0 humiliation in the last Ashes series.
“They want the characters, they want the personalities on the field, they want the headlines, they want the guys to perform and they will very happily accept all the big endorsements and the companies that will sponsor them,” Pietersen said.
“But goodness, anybody who dares say anything, other than strict regime line, you get in trouble. Unfortunately, you can’t have the two.
“You can’t have the maverick or the great player who does extraordinary things on the field and then have a choir boy off it. It just doesn’t work.”