Former Test spinner Graeme Swann has unleashed an explosive tirade against his controversial former teammate, Kevin Pietersen.
Swann described Pietersen, who was known for his often-frosty relationships with teammates and administrators alike, as “different” and saying that the pair “never liked each other”.
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While Pietersen was always outspoken, the height of turbulence in the England set up came in 2012, with the star batter caught sending derogatory texts about teammates Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower to opposition players during a Test match.
The texts reportedly referred to Strauss as a “doos” – an Afrikaans slang term broadly translating to an idiot.
Swann described the entire affair as a “soap opera”.
“It was the most bizarre (situation) you know, you’re living in a bit of a soap opera,” Swann said.
“Kev’s different to everyone else I’ve ever met in my life and he said ‘it’s hard to be me, in (the England) change room’. Yeah Kev, because you f**ked it all up!
“So yeah, he sent texts, then he had (TV personality) Piers Morgan do a YouTube video saying ‘I didn’t do this’, but now he says he did do it, but (that) he was just texting his friends.”
Asked whether there were confrontations between Pietersen and the other players over the texts, Swann said interactions between Pietersen and the other players had to be mediated, as there remained no photographs of the messages in question owing to camera-phone technology then being in its relative infancy at the time.
“It was the early days of the (Sony) Ericsson 350 flip, so no one knew you could take photos and stuff like that.
“So legally, England didn’t have any grounds for sacking him, so he was reintegrated.
“We had to have meetings in a golf course in Oxford … we were all called there, one by one, there was a conflict resolution expert there from the business world … we all had to go in one at a time and say if we had any beef with Kevin.
“(Kevin) was there, (ODI captain) Alastair Cook was there and (coach) Andy Flower, so I went both barrels, because I thought ‘I can’t believe I’ve got to do this on my day off, and Kev was very defensive and said ‘I had to fly back from South Africa for this.’
“Well, it is your f***king fault, Kevin!
“I’m not sure how everyone else went, after the meeting Alastair Cook rang me up and said ‘Jesus Christ, you did go both barrels!’
“I felt I could because me and Kev never liked each other anyway, a lot of other people either like him a bit or got on with him but me and Kev always hated each other.”
Swann would then go on to rubbish Pietersen’s claims at the time that he was the victim of bullying in the England set up.
A parody Twitter account called “KPgenius” was prominent at the time for mocking Pietersen, and Swann said “to this day, he thinks it was me”.
“I said ‘Kevin, I don’t like you and you don’t like me, I spend as little time as possible thinking about you as you do with me, why would I do this?’
“Kev absolutely loved that account, he was reading it out laughing and going ‘look at this, this is great’, happily going along with it until he f**ked up with those text messages, knowing that two of the s****est newspapers in the world would always back him up – I’m not mentioning newspapers, but the Daily Mail.”
Swann said Pietersen used relatively normal on-field teammate behaviour as the basis for his bullying claims.
“Batsmen are all pussies, and they can’t ever accept their own failures and hold their hand up when they f**k up in the field and say sorry.
“The batsmen called a meeting and said the bowlers were being mean to us and shouting at us when we misfielded – Kev then used that to say he was being bullied.
“I mean Kev is 6’4, South African, could’ve easily got in the Springbok team and he said he got bullied.
“I mean it’s absolute bollocks and everyone knew it was bollocks, but people will believe someone if they have a sob story.”
Swann would continue to criticise Pietersen’s behaviour on the doomed 2013-14 Ashes tour to Australia, which saw Mitchell Johnson terrorise the English and lead Australia to a 5-0 victory that saw Jonathan Trott and Swann retire mid-series.
“There was a general undermining of the captain and trying to get the captain sacked and the coach sacked and generally being a bit of a knob, bit of a d***head, but we didn’t all know (about the extent of his behaviour).
“We just thought Kev’s Kev but he was being quite nasty behind the scenes and using his friends in the press, it was messy.”