Ashes shambles points to disharmony, says Tufnell

Kevin Pietersen: Vowed to stay. Picture: PA
Kevin Pietersen: Vowed to stay. Picture: PA
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DRESSING room disharmony was a major factor in England’s 5-0 Ashes drubbing in Australia, according to former Test spin bowler Phil Tufnell.

England produced five sorry performances in only the third Ashes series whitewash and Tufnell said: “There must be something going on in that dressing room where people don’t feel they want to fight for each other.

Tufnell, who took 121 wickets in 42 tests for England, added on BBC radio: “How did Jonathan Trott go and play that first Test match and then just say ‘I’m not well’ wasn’t that picked up? Graeme Swann plays three test matches, loses and leaves. That’s two very experienced players who have just gone and left the side.

“That shows there is not a mentality pushing in the right direction, perhaps there are too many agendas going on.”

Trott returned home after one match, citing stress-related problems while Swann decided to end his career once Australia sealed the series in Perth. Batsman Kevin Pietersen’s future also came under scrutiny in the wake of the defeat, but he insisted yesterday he was determined to carry on and try to win back the Ashes.

Former captain Michael Vaughan accused England of “throwing in the towel” but said ditching Pietersen, England’s best batsman but often seen as a maverick, would be a mistake.

“My fear is they are going to make the big change and get rid of Kevin Pietersen,” Vaughan said. “I think that would be completely the wrong approach. I would be getting Pietersen in closer to the management. I’d have him near that think-tank.”

Pietersen himself intends to be around for the new regime. “I want to thank all the England fans for their terrific support. And I’m determined to help regain the Ashes in 2015,” he wrote on Twitter.

The 33-year-old Pietersen’s international future is under scrutiny, along with other senior England players, after coach Andy Flower said it felt like the “end of an era”.

Flower and captain Alastair Cook expressed their intentions to stay on but the lineup for the home series against Sri Lanka and India this summer could be very different to the one that was humiliated Down Under.

Pietersen was also the team’s top run-scorer in the Ashes, even though he averaged only 29.40 over the five Tests.