Former England captain Michael Vaughan has said the ‘massive’ Indian Premier League (IPL) contract that Kevin Pietersen got from Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) led to jealousy in the England cricket team dressing room. He also said that this led to cliques being formed and eventually ended with Pietersen being axed from the team.
Pietersen received the joint-highest bid at the IPL 2009 auction, his US$1.55 million contract making him one of the richest cricketers in the world.
Vaughan told Fox Sports, “I think there was a lot of jealousy. And the players will completely deny it now but I think there was at the time when Kevin was on a massive contract. There were all sorts of whispers and rumours of cliques (against Pietersen) in the team.”
Vaughan, who retired in 2008, said there had been whispers of some players in the England team being united in their dislike of Pietersen.
“There was a little band of a few; Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan, (James) Anderson, (Stuart) Broad and Matt Prior. The whispers were they were on one side and Kevin was kind of standing on his own on the other side…He was on a big contract while not many of the other players were even getting sniffed at,” he said.
Pietersen was axed from the national side after England’s Ashes defeat in Australia in 2013-14 after he stirred up a controversy by sending a series of notorious text messages, criticising then skipper Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower, to some of the South Africa players during the Headingley Test in 2012.
Vaughan said he sees nothing wrong in the manner of the axing, but says the bad blood spilled out because of the jealousy Pietersen had caused in the team.
“Kev around that time wanted to go to the IPL. That’s how it all started to blow up and that’s when those factions came into play,” Vaughan said.
Pietersen had himself said that he had been a victim of professional jealousy. “The England lads: too much jealousy. I was the only one profiting – very, very well – out of India,” he had explained in a 2015 interview.