England wicketkeeper Matt Prior defended himself against allegations that he undermined former coach Andy Flower during the disastrous Ashes tour before turning his back on Kevin Pietersen.
Television personality Piers Morgan, a friend of Pietersen whose England career ended this week, suggested on Twitter that the South Africa-born batsman was being made a scapegoat for falling out with Flower, although he was not the only player to have concerns about the coach.
“Flower’s behaving like a headmaster, this is a schoolboy environment. F**K Flower! This is OUR team!’ —@MattPrior13 to England team,” Morgan tweeted. Morgan also said Pietersen was popular with the younger members of the team. He described Prior as a hypocrite for siding with the players who were upset at Flower’s methods, but then stabbing Pietersen in the back when talking to Flower, who quit last week, about the issue.
The accusations were denied by Prior, who was dropped for the final two tests in Australia after a run of poor form.
“I don’t do this PR, spinning media rubbish,” Prior said on Twitter. “But I refuse to be attacked by a bloke that knows very little about what goes on in the England setup apart from rumour, gossip and hearsay from certain individuals (most of whom I’d take with a pinch of salt!!).
“Maybe I was recorded or ‘hacked’ but if not I’d like to see where these words I apparently said have come from? There is no story here just an attempt to knock someone who has only ever had the teams best interests at heart.”
The Daily Telegraph reported that a team meeting in Melbourne on Dec. 30 brought about the end of Pietersen’s international career this week after 104 test matches, 136 one-day internationals and 37 Twenty20 internationals. The paper said a players-only meeting was held in which they agreed that the team were relying too heavily on Flower for instructions.
Pietersen then allegedly went on an anti-Flower rant, but missed the point of his team mates’ concerns, believing they were accusing Flower of being overly “prescriptive” rather than “paternalistic”. Flower heard about the meeting and wanted an explanation from Pietersen. The players assured Flower they said they did not have a problem with his methods.
Paul Downton, new managing director of ECB, after meeting Flower, coaching staff, Cook and other seniors decided to end Pietersen’s international career.
PM Cameron joins Pietersen debate
London: The British prime minister David Cameron joined the on-going row over Kevin Pietersen’s sacking from the England cricket team, saying there was a “powerful argument” for retaining the mercurial cricketer, according to English newspapers The Guardian and The Telegraph.
The Guardian reported the prime minister as speaking on BBC Radio stressed he would leave decisions to team selectors. But he said that Pietersen was a “remarkable” cricketer. “I am an enormous fan of Pietersen and I have had some of my most enjoyable times watching him,” Cameron said. “His average is remarkable. It is not often I have a sympathy for Piers Morgan but I thought he was making quite a powerful argument this morning on my radio. Piers Morgan, a famous British television talk-show host, had lambasted the management for dropping Pietersen on Twitter.
The spokesman for Cameron dodged the question of whether the PM had confidence in the England cricket team’s management, telling reporters: “When it comes to decisions around the management of the England game, that’s one for the ECB.”