Broad denies Pietersen bullying

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Published: Sunday 23rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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Stuart Broad has denied Kevin Pietersen was “bullied” during his time in the England team – and does not expect the batsman to return to the international game.

Pietersen used his recent autobiography to criticise many in the England set-up and while coach Andy Flower and wicketkeeper Matt Prior bore the brunt, there were also allegations that the bowling unit led by Broad, James Anderson and Graeme Swann “ran the dressing room”.

He claimed players were forced to apologise for misfields or dropped catches and had raised the issue with team management, and also hinted it may have played a role in Jonathan Trott’s anxiety-related departure from last winter’s Ashes.

Broad did not deny reacting strongly to errors but insisted it never spilled over into bullying, likening his actions instead to former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel’s outspoken defensive organisation.

“It is sad and disappointing to hear KP saying he felt bullied throughout his England career,” Broad told the Mail on Sunday.

“I’ve not heard other people say they felt it was that way but I can’t sit here and say he is wrong because if he felt that way then he’s right to come out and say so. He has every right to express those opinions.

“But I wasn’t aware he felt like that at the time and I don’t believe other players were either. That word ‘bullying’ never entered my head at any stage in eight years of playing alongside KP in the dressing room.

“I’ve certainly had times when I expressed my disappointment at a poor piece of fielding but it’s always come from an inner will to help the team get better. I can’t remember any raised voices or arguments in the changing room or when guys have come off the field and said ‘that was too much’ or ‘that was too aggressive’.

“I grew up admiring sporting heroes like Martin Johnson, Lewis Moody, Peter Schmeichel, Stuart Pearce and sportsmen like that. They were all fairly outgoing, want-to-win type of characters. I wonder if guys like Gary Pallister and Steve Bruce were offended when Peter Schmeichel shouted at them when they made a mistake? I don’t know, you’d have to ask them.”

Pietersen did not suggest he had been bullied in the dressing room, although the “KP Genius” parody Twitter account was a high-profile source of consternation. Broad once again denied any involvement with the account run by his friend Richard Bailey.

Pietersen claimed at the time his book was published that he could return to the England set-up in the future if Giles Clarke were to stand down as chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

But despite being under contract with Surrey throughout last season, he has not played a first-class game since England’s dismal campaign in Australia.

And Broad said: “His last red-ball game was in Sydney. He’s 34 and hasn’t played any long-form cricket in the best part of a year. He’s not putting his name out there.”

Broad himself has been absent from the team in recent times following knee surgery and is not part of the current tour of Sri Lanka, but is confident of returning ahead of February’s World Cup Down Under.

“The surgery has gone brilliantly,” he said. “I’ve been running flat out now for two and a half weeks and I did my first proper bowling last Friday. If I have no setbacks I’ll be good to go for the World Cup.”

Published: Sunday 23rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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