Kevin Pietersen autobiography: 'ECB would leak story after story about me - but I've got incredibly thick skin,' claims Pietersen in new book

 

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen continues to take on the establishment as he publicises his version of the events which led to his sacking as an England batsman.

In his book, KP: The Autobiography - released to the media on Monday and due to go on general sale on Thursday - he details his despair and disillusionment at the culture of "bullying" he insists infected the England team.

For that, he blames former coach Andy Flower and wicketkeeper Matt Prior in particular, and has also called into question Alastair Cook's credentials as England captain.

It is an account which has already been described by one former team-mate, Graeme Swann, as "codswallop", has had Prior vowing to have his say in response when the time is right and England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton assuring an audience at Lord's that there has never been a formal complaint of bullying in the team.

 

Even so Pietersen, set to undertake a marathon of broadcast and online interviews on Tuesday culminating in a public Q&A and book signing in Manchester, stayed on the front foot when he told the Radio Times his former employers at the ECB consistently leaked stories about him in a vain effort to 'get him through the media'.

Pietersen, controversially sacked eight months ago after England's Ashes whitewash in Australia, told the weekly television magazine of a "vendetta" pursued against him from within by Flower as well as what he appears to perceive as dirty PR tricks by the ECB.

"The way the ECB works is it uses the media to get messages out there," he said.

"If the ECB could never get at me - because they knew they couldn't really squash my personality - they would leak story after story to try to get me through the media. "But unfortunately, I've got incredibly thick skin, and it never worked."

There was no response from the ECB on Monday night to that or any of the claims in Pietersen's book, to add to an initial observation from a spokesman several hours earlier that it was hard to comment on a publication no one at the governing body had seen - despite requests for a copy from the publishers.

Pietersen voiced no sympathy but concern for Cook, and nothing short of disdain for either Flower or Prior.

His gripe with the captain is that Cook was not minded to stick up for him when Downton informed Pietersen, eight months ago in the aftermath of England's 5-0 Ashes whitewash defeat in Australia, that his international career was over.

"I had gone out of my way to support him on the Ashes tour," Pietersen writes in his autobiography.

"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 World T20.

"I was disappointed in him then. I thought the way he behaved called into question his qualifications to be captain.

"But I know too that he is a decent guy and that he was paralysed by how uncomfortable it all was."

Alastair-Cook.jpgHe had nothing so empathetic to say about Flower or Prior, anywhere in his 300-page book.

In one especially scathing passage, he described the coach as: "Contagiously sour. Infectiously dour. He could walk into a room and suck all the joy out of it in five seconds."

Prior, meanwhile, was "a bad influence ... who picks on players", Pietersen adding: "He's one bloke that quite a few - I could count on more than one hand - have said: 'Please can you tell the world what that guy's like?"'

PA

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