Stewart makes Twitter claim

Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Alec Stewart says he reported to the England and Wales Cricket Board that he had been told Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann all had access to a parody Kevin Pietersen Twitter account.

Stewart made the claims on Wednesday night, saying he was told by the account’s owner, Richard Bailey, at a Test match in 2012.

The ‘KPgenius’ account is a prominent topic in Pietersen’s autobiography, published this week. Pietersen cites the account as one example of a culture of “bullying” inside the England dressing room.

Bailey is a cricket fan and a friend of Broad, but has always maintained he ran the account alone with no input from the dressing room, telling the Guardian on Wednesday: “They 100 per cent did not tweet from it.”

Swann used his column in Wednesday’s edition of The Sun to refute the claims, insisting that while he did follow it, he did not have a hand in running it.

That came after Pietersen’s book told a story of Stewart claiming Bailey had confided in him that three members of the England team had access to the account.

Angered that his “integrity” had been questioned by Bailey’s denial, Stewart told BBC Radio 5 Live: “The reason I am prepared to talk about is that he (Bailey) has said he didn’t say anything to me and therefore is doubting my integrity and I won’t have that.

“I aren’t here to nail Pietersen, Broad, Swann, Bresnan. I’m an ex-England player and an England fan.

“What happened, back in 2012 at the Oval, at the top tier of the OCS Stand at the Vauxhall End of the ground, this gentleman came up and said to me: ‘I understand you follow the KPgenius twitter account’.

“I said ‘yes, some of it is funny, some of it is close to the bone’. He then said ‘that is me’, I said ‘very good, well done’. He then came back and said, ‘can I keep a secret?’, I said ‘yes, but it depends what you’re going to tell me’.

“He said ‘I can’t tell you’ and then walked away. Thirty seconds later he came back and said ‘three players have access to the account, they have the password’ and he told me the three names.

“The names were Bresnan, Broad and Swann and it didn’t sit comfortably with me. Not because I wanted them three players to get fined, but it didn’t sit comfortably with me if what he was saying was factually correct.

“I then made Hugh Morris, and Andy Flower at a later date, aware of the conversation, passed on that information and left it at that. If the ECB wanted to investigate or ignore, they could.”

There was no comment from the ECB on Stewart’s claims on Wednesday night.

Stewart’s comments came after Pietersen described the ECB as ”dinosaurs … shooting themselves in the foot”.

The sacked batsman was referring to the emergence on Tuesday night of a leaked document, which appeared to log the ECB’s list of his alleged misdemeanours during last winter’s descent to Ashes whitewash in Australia.

A month after his return, Pietersen was told he would not be picked by England again – bringing an apparent end to his record-breaking but controversial career.

As he was promoting his autobiography in a series of interviews, the document – which the ECB swiftly made clear was a draft of a private internal email – somehow came into the possession of website Cricinfo.

It is unclear how the document reached the public domain but was, in any case, a turn of events which did not impress Pietersen.

Speaking before an appearance on BT’s The Clare Balding Show, to be broadcast on Thursday, he said in quotes carried on ” When you’re dealing with dinosaurs that don’t understand social media they are going to shoot themselves in the foot – and they’ve done it.”

Former England all-rounder Ian Botham believes the entire saga is a low moment for the game and was disappointed Pietersen’s book focused more on his criticisms of former team-mates and coaches rather than reminiscing about some of his greatest moments on the field.

“Playing cricket for your country is the very pinnacle of professional sport and right now it is amateur hour across the board and sadly it is the game itself that looks worse for it,” said Botham in the Daily Mirror.

“Kevin Pietersen has made the decision to air his grievances and that is up to him, but from what I’ve read and heard it is more about score settling than the great times he gave us with his cricket.”

Relating to Pietersen’s claims of a bullying culture in the dressing room, Botham admits the international circuit can be tough but that matters were allowed to get out of hand.

“Players have long had banter and given each other stick, it is part of the cut and thrust of the job, the best job a man could ever have,” he added.

“The key is to not let it get out of hand and let the aggro fester which seems to have happened here. You have to be able to have things out with your team-mates. Deal with it and move on.”

Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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