Pietersen makes explosive 'bullying' claims

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Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen's long-awaited autobiography comes out this week, and an explosive interview with The Telegraph on Monday gave fans a taste of the contents, where he slammed Andy Flower and Matt Prior.

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen's long-awaited autobiography comes out this week, and an explosive interview with The Telegraph on Monday gave fans a taste of the contents, where he slammed Andy Flower and Matt Prior.

Pietersen claimed in the interview that Flower, the former coach and the side's leader for much of his time in the team, 'ruled by fear' and that Prior, a fellow former South African, 'stabbed him in the back'.

Pietersen, claiming there was a 'bullying' culture in the dressing room, led by Prior, said: "Horrendous. Hugely disturbing. I brought it up.

"All throughout my reintegration meetings [following messages sent to the opposition in 2012], I brought it up on numerous occasions. I told [Andrew] Strauss about it, I told Cook about it. It was a huge thing."

He added that international players were shocked by how senior England players spoke on the field: "I could give you telephone numbers of international players around the world.

"You ring them and ask them about the way the England team conducted themselves through the last three, four years. Listen to them. Ask the Sri Lankans, ask the Australians. Ask the West Indians, ask the Indians.

"I got messages from Indians and stuff when they played against them saying: 'I can't believe you could play with these guys.'"

He spoke of players being shouted at if they dropped a catch: "It was allowed to develop. It's in the book. The bowlers were given so much power.

"They were doing really well. Swanny [Graeme Swann] was winning game after game for us. Broady [Stuart Broad] was contributing. Jimmy [Anderson] was contributing. We always had a third or fourth seamer that was there or thereabouts. But these guys ran the dressing room.

"The thing that horrified me the most was when Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss in Bangalore before the one-day internationals said: 'Guys we've got to stop this, it's not right for the team, there are guys that have come to [us] that are intimidated to field the ball.'

"And they [the bowlers] had the audacity to stand there and say: 'No, if they've f—– up we deserve an apology.' It's the most angry I ever got in that dressing room. I thought, I reckon I could hit these guys.

"Who do you think you are, to ask for an apology from someone who's trying his heart out, who's playing for his country, who's making a mistake?

"Are you perfect, are you never going to drop a catch? Are you never going to bowl a wide? Are you never even going to make a mistake? But the double standard for me was the bigger thing.

"If one of them messed up – if Jimmy messed up, or Swanny messed up – nothing was ever said. Prior left them alone. He never left alone [Nick] Compton or Ravi [Bopara] or Trotty."

He went on to say that standing up to Flower was one of his biggest 'crimes' and one of the reasons he was sacked, even though the ECB have not given proper reasons, he says.

He continued: "I've been one of the only ones who've constantly through his reign as coach not said 'how high?' when he said 'jump'. He built a regime, he didn't build a team.

"I've told him this before. I told him during his coaching reign. I told him on numerous occasions: 'You're playing by fear here, you want guys to be scared of you. And Andy I'm not scared of you.' And he hated it.

"He had it in for me since I tried to get rid of him as second in command. He collected stamps. It was stamp after stamp after stamp, until he thought: 'I can get rid of him now, let's get rid of him.'"

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