The England and Wales Cricket Board insists a document leaked to the media is a draft internal email rather than Andy Flower’s dossier on Kevin Pietersen’s alleged misdemeanours during last winter’s Ashes.
A four-page list of incidents marked ‘Strictly privileged and confidential’ has made its way to the Cricinfo website, but the ECB last night insisted it is not “what it is purported to be”.
The governing body did not deny the existence of the document, or a fuller ‘dossier’, but made clear in a statement that the text in the hands of the media outlet should not be equated in any way to a tour report by former coach Flower on Pietersen, who was sacked by the ECB in February, following England’s Ashes whitewash defeat last winter.
Pietersen himself has referred in his autobiography to a “‘dossier’, a four-page document that lists my crimes in Australia”. But he concludes: “I would love to see a copy of this dossier. The problem is it does not exist.”
An ECB statement read: “This document is not what it is purported to be. It is simply a small part of a private legal email, compiling facts as part of the ECB lawyers’ internal due diligence in preparation for the publication of Kevin Pietersen’s book.”
Pietersen, meanwhile, insists his revelations of bullying in the England dressing room are his way of defending himself after years of “character assassination”.
Pietersen’s former team-mate Swann has described the batsman’s autobiography, due to go on sale tomorrow, as “codswallop” and “the biggest work of fiction since Jules Verne”.
But after citing Swann, Matt Prior and Flower as central forces in the culture of bullying he says he and others encountered, Pietersen is staying on the front foot. In a marathon round of broadcast interviews yesterday to publicise his book KP: The Autobiography, the 34-year-old restated his dislike for Prior and his depiction in print of off-spinner Swann as “the one who picked on players” in a “dominant clique” also containing fast bowler Stuart Broad.
Throughout the second half of his stellar international career Pietersen claims he took his concerns to Flower, to no avail.
There have been many controversies surrounding Pietersen, beginning when he lost the England captaincy after a disagreement with then coach Peter Moores in 2008-09 and continuing with his three-month exile from the team after a vexed summer of contract wrangles and leaked text messages to opposition players about his captain Andrew Strauss in 2012.
The culmination, after a period of ‘reintegration’ which allowed him to become England’s all-time record runscorer, came when the ECB ended Pietersen’s employment in February – after which managing director Paul Downton noted the batsman’s ‘disinterest’ in what appears to have been his last Test in Sydney.
Pietersen said: “Since the fall-out of the captaincy, my character has been assassinated on numerous occasions and I’ve not been allowed to give my side of the story because of the regime we were under. I think it is pretty important for the public, who’ve been fed by the ECB machine so many things about me, to read this book and go, ‘Okay, there is another side’. I know everything that’s in this book I can stand by 100 per cent.”
Pietersen recalls fielders being routinely forced to apologise to the ‘bullies’ among England’s bowlers if they made a mistake.
Downton told the BBC that, to his knowledge, there has been no report of bullying from players to management. But Pietersen said: “They have. They made a complaint to the coach and the captain, and they talked to the team about it … and Swann and Broad disagreed with the captain and the coach and said, ‘No, we demand an apology; we deserve an apology’.
“A youngster … they would get at him … if he dropped the ball or if he let a batsman off the mark, or if he didn’t save two runs. It would be constant. You had a captain and coach asking [them] to stop going at players, because people are feeling intimidated to field the ball.”
l Tom Harrison has been appointed the ECB’s new chief executive, and will take up the role in January. Harrison replaces David Collier, who left last month after ten-year tenure.