Stewart ‘stands by’ Pietersen

Published: Wednesday 8th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The fall-out from Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography continued on Wednesday night as ex-England captain Alec Stewart said he had told the England and Wales Cricket Board of three players who had access to the parody twitter account which caused the batsman such angst.

In his book, KP: The Autobiography, which goes on general sale on Thursday morning, Pietersen writes of a culture of “bullying” in the England dressing room.

One incident which caused Pietersen particular upset was the ‘KPgenius’ Twitter account which was owned by Richard Bailey, an England fan and a friend of Pietersen’s team-mate Stuart Broad.

Contrary to claims in Pietersen’s book that Bailey told Stewart he had insider help with the account, Bailey has always insisted he ran the account alone with no input from any England players and on Wednesday told the Guardian: “They 100 per cent did not tweet from it.”

But in an interview given to the Telegraph on Wednesday night, Stewart – Pietersen’s coach at Surrey – claims that he reported three of Pietersen’s team-mates after being told of their involvement by Bailey.

“I absolutely stand by what is written in Pietersen’s book,” Stewart told the Telegraph.

“I went and told Hugh Morris and Andy Flower on separate occasions what I had been told by this fella.”

Recalling meeting Bailey at a Test in 2012, Stewart added: “I said to him some of it [the account] was very funny and that he had got some good information. He said yes I do. He then said, ‘Can you keep a secret?’ I said, ‘It depends’.

“He went away and then came back and named three players who had access to the account password.

“If that was the case it did not sit well with me that three players were taking the mickey out of a fellow player publicly to that extent on a public forum. Dressing rooms can be harsh places and I have no problem with that.

“Take the mickey but not out of someone’s job. I passed it on to the ECB and it was up to them how they dealt with it. I was doing it for the good of the England team and how the hierarchy dealt with it was up to them but I felt they had to be made aware of it.”

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 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 “I think there are times in your life where you shoot yourselves in the foot, and I don’t think the ECB helped themselves last night.

“It’s embarrassing what happened last night.

“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.”

Several issues are sure to rear their head again along with plenty of others as Pietersen continues a marathon promotional tour.

But the 34-year-old had braced himself for the experience.

“I said to my wife and ‘team’ last week, ‘this week will be carnage – I’ll be in the eye of the storm, and it’ll happen and then it’ll go.”

Pietersen’s recollection of bullying on the field, often directed by bowlers towards fielders who made mistakes, has been corroborated by former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.

He has made it clear in an interview with the Australian press that he too often noticed the intimidating behaviour among his Ashes opponents.

Pietersen said: “You write books like this when you’ve got evidence to back it up and you’ve got people who are prepared to back it up,” Pietersen said.

“I haven’t even spoken to Punter [Ricky Ponting]. When I woke up this morning and I saw this, one of the greatest cricketers to have ever played the game, how do you think he views it when he’s in the opposition and he’s seeing team mates abuse each other and bully each other on a cricket field?

“How do you reckon it feels for the individuals that are going through it in the dressing room. I’ve been speaking to the coach about it for years.”

“Six months’ time, you never know, there could be a change at the top, I live in hope. And one day I hope to be able to play Test cricket again. If I got the call now, I’d leave your show!”

There was no response from the ECB on Wednesday night.

Published: Wednesday 8th October 2014 by The News Editor

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