x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

All is well that ends well as Pietersen dismisses Swann's book

The England spinner says Kevin Pietersen is not a natural leader but no damage done, insist the England teammates.

England's Graeme Swann, centre, and Kevin Pietersen, left, played down any possible rift but the former will still have some explaining to do when their team take on Pakistan in the UAE next month.
England's Graeme Swann, centre, and Kevin Pietersen, left, played down any possible rift but the former will still have some explaining to do when their team take on Pakistan in the UAE next month.

Kevin Pietersen has labelled Graeme Swann's recent autobiography as "not a clever book" after his England teammate went into print to criticise him as "not a natural leader".

Pietersen, in an interview with the BBC yesterday, insisted he had a good relationship with Swann, and that the fallout from the off-spinner's book would have no bearing on England's team spirit ahead of their upcoming series against Pakistan in the UAE.

"Things are absolutely fine," Pietersen said. "It was Swanny; Swanny likes to talk. It's not a clever book in the middle of your career, but it's not affecting anything that's going on in the team, for sure.

"The team spirit we've got at the moment … a book won't change anything like that," Pietersen added. "When we go to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in a couple of weeks, the team will be as united as ever and that's not going to change for one second because of a book," he said.

Pietersen was briefly England's captain across all formats but resigned in January 2009 after questioning the credentials of Peter Moores, the coach at the time, who was dismissed from his post.

Their exits paved the way for the successful alliance between the current Test captain Andrew Strauss and the coach Andy Flower. England won the Ashes 3-1 in Australia and whitewashed India 4-0 at home to move to the top of the world Test rankings.

But their one-day form has been far less impressive, with England struggling to get into the knockout stages of this year's World Cup in Asia before being beaten by the eventual finalists Sri Lanka.

In October, a one-day series in India saw England thrashed 5-0 by the 50-over world champions.

Pietersen said England's inability, in contrast to the Test team, to find a settled one-day side was behind the Twenty20 world champions struggles.

"We've used so many players, whether it be through injury or rest. I've played seven years of one-day cricket for England and it's round about 35 players that we've used," he said.

"To get that consistency and roles in the team can be quite hard.

"Things didn't go according to plan in India two months ago but we have made great strides in one-day cricket, certainly [in England]. "The World Cup was a tough one because it came at the end of that long Australian trip."

He said that England's one-day record "is something we are focused on improving".

Swann, writing in his column in The Sun in October, played down talk of a rift with the South Africa-born Pietersen.

"People have claimed my observation that KP is not a natural leader and should not have captained England has caused dressing-room divisions and a breakdown in team spirit," Swann said.

"Well, anybody who thinks that does not know this England team. The reason we lost the one-day series 5-0 to India is because we've been outplayed in conditions which suit the home team."

* Agence France-Presse

 

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