Matt Prior was a bully, reveals Kevin Pietersen
London: Kevin Pietersen believes Alastair Cook's failure to back him after last winter's Ashes tour "called into question his qualifications to be captain" but admits the England skipper was "paralysed" by an "uncomfortable" situation.
England's Matt Prior (left) sniffs teammate Kevin Pietersen's bat during a 2011 World Cup training session at Chennai on March 4, 2011. Pic/AFP
In his autobiography 'KP', Pietersen also blames England's demise on a "bullying" culture allowed to fester by Andy Flower and led by wicketkeeper Matt Prior, in which he and other teammates were repeatedly mocked and abused for making mistakes.
England's all-time leading run-scorer insists he never had any problems with Cook, who he said tried to rectify the bullying problems when he first became captain, but Pietersen described his disappointment at how his skipper handled the fall-out from the disastrous 2013-14 tour of Australia.
"I was disappointed. I had gone out of my way to support him on the Ashes tour," wrote Pietersen, reacting to Cook's "neutral" response to a question about Pietersen's future in the team.
"The next time I saw Cooky he was staring at his shoes while I was being told I would not be included in the England squads in the Caribbean or in the
Trott lost it
Pietersen described how the bullying came to a head when Jonathan Trott snapped during a Test match in Bangladesh in 2010. "They (the batsmen) would just take the abuse on a daily basis: Move! F***, come on, for f***'s sake! What the f*** are you doing?," Pietersen wrote.
"But then, in a Test match against Bangladesh, Trott...just cracked. He started swearing right back at Prior and Swann. Just shouting, 'Will you f*** off? Who the f*** do you think you are?' I'd been wanting to ask that question for some time."
Pietersen says Swann was the "loudmouth" who picked on the players and is particularly damning of Prior's influence on the dressing room, which he describes as "massively negative" and Flower, who let the "clique grow like a bad weed".
Flower, who led England from 2009 and oversaw three Ashes victories, became the subject of a players-only team meeting after Cook's side had lost the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne in December.
In the meeting, Pietersen voiced his concerns about Flower's style of leadership but insists he was far from alone in his assessment and that Prior, who had been dropped for the Melbourne test, was particularly outspoken.