DCSIMG

Kevin Pietersen backed by Warne and Botham

Kevin Pietersen has been publicly backed by his singer wife Jessica. Picture: PA

Kevin Pietersen has been publicly backed by his singer wife Jessica. Picture: PA

  • by MATT McGEEHAN
 

Kevin Pietersen’s wife has sprung to his defence and denied claims that her husband and his former captain Alastair Cook “squared up” in Sydney while England were descending to an Ashes whitewash.

Jessica Taylor, a singer with Liberty X, took to Twitter to rebuke Sky Sports pundit Dominic Cork, the former England bowler, over his understanding of how badly Pietersen and his Test captain’s relationship suffered in Australia this winter.

Pietersen’s England career is over, it was announced on Tuesday night, as management and selectors seek to establish a new era for Cook’s team in the absence of their all-time record run-scorer in all formats.

Pietersen’s wife, and former England captain Michael Vaughan, both took issue with Cork’s depiction of an “altercation” between captain and senior batsman as tempers were lost in Sydney.

“Dominic Cork – there was no ‘squaring up’ to Alastair Cook or ‘off-field antics’ in Australia – you are lying, plain & simple,” Taylor wrote. “Regurgitating rumour and spinning it as fact is not what I’d call responsible journalism. The public deserve so much better – the truth.”

Vaughan responded in similar tone, acknowledging there were bound to be raised emotions during England’s Ashes campaign but questioning the situation escalated as has been reported. “With the way England were playing I am sure players had lots of strong debate in the Dressing Room,” wrote Vaughan. “But squaring up??? #Nonsense.”

Cork had earlier told Sky Sports News: “What I’m hearing is there was an altercation between himself [Pietersen] and Alastair Cook. Cook was one of his friends and wanted him back in when his reintegration ­happened.

“When you put yourself out there as captain and an altercation happens – I heard there was nearly a dust-up, a fight in the Sydney Pavilion – you can’t do that to a captain.”

The bombshell that Pietersen has played his last match for England has, meanwhile, reverberated around the world.

The mercurial batsman’s former Ashes adversary Shane Warne wrote on Twitter: “I also just heard the sad news re KP that he has played his last game for England, to me it’s a ­disgrace & a joke! The ECB is in a ­shambles.”

Pietersen himself describes himself as “so sad” that his international career is over.

The England and Wales Cricket Board decided unanimously that its relationship with the 33-year-old had run its course – following a meeting between new managing director Paul Downton, Cook, limited-overs coach Ashley Giles and national selector James Whitaker.

Pietersen has vowed to stay in the game, and with no international responsibilities he appears to become a more attractive signing for Indian Premier League sides.

He posted a picture of his final Test on Instagram, and added the words: “So sad that this will now be the last time I leave a field in an England shirt. Incredibly overwhelmed by the support overnight! Thank you so much.

“I love England and I honestly hope they have every success in the future.”

Sir Ian Botham has joined an apparent chorus of disapproval for the ECB’s management of the situation, insisting the governing body should publish details of Pietersen’s perceived indiscretions.

Former England captain ­Botham told Sky Sports News: “He is one of the best cricketers this country has ever had – and if his career has been terminated, why not tell us why?

“Don’t give us the one-liner ‘we’re moving on, we’re doing this, we’re doing that’. He’s 33, not 43.

“I do believe the ECB need to come out and lay their cards on the table, explain their decision I think the cricketing public ­deserve that.”

 

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