KP rips into “divisive” Andy Flower
Harare – Andy Flower might be England’s all-time most successful cricket coach but he has come under severe attack from Kevin Pietersen, who accuses him of ruling the team with an iron fist in which the Zimbabwean turned himself into a rampaging bully.
Pietersen claims the England team was so good that even his son would have coached them and turned them into a success story.
The 46-year-old Flower stepped down as England coach in February this year after a 0-5 humiliation Ashes whitewash in Australia brought an inglorious end to his four-year reign as England coach in which he transformed the team into the best Test side in the world.
Flower led England to Ashes success in 2009 when they beat Australia 2-1, retained the Ashes with 3-1 win the following year and won the Ashes, for the third straight time, with a 3-0 win in 2013, two years after he was named Coach of the Year in the annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
His England team went top of the ICC Test rankings in 2011 and he was also successful, in the limited overs format, as they won the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 Cup in the West Indies.
But one of his best players, during that golden period, Pietersen, has launched a scathing attack on the Zimbabwean coach for bullying the team and splitting the England side into camps during his time in charge.
Pietersen was made the fall guy of the Ashes humiliation in Australia this year when England were pounded in a 0-5 humiliation with the South Africa-born batsman being axed from the team, and his international career ended, while Flower followed him after he was forced to step down.
In his explosive book, KP: The Autobiography, Pietersen launches a vicious attack on Flower, claiming that he was the bully who terrorised the England players and this, inevitably, split the team into camps with their success masking the problems that were rocking their camp.
Peitersen claims relationships between England players deteriorated, after Flower took over, with a number of camps emerging in the team and there was so much distrust, among the players, that in one match, Jonathan Trott, a player with a reputation for having mild manners, turned on his teammate Matt Prior and told him to “f**k off, who the f**k do you think you are?”
The abuse was showed on the field, during a tour in Bangladesh in 2010, with their bemused hosts, who were left wondering what had gone wrong with the England cricket team, Pietersen claims.
The South Africa-born batsman claims he was sacrificised at a time when the England cricket authorities should have looked at Flower as the problem.
“It’s a great story. Pietersen’s on the boundary. He doesn’t care about his team mates. He’s disengaged. He’s gone,” Pietersen told the Daily Telegraph ahead of the publication of his book.
“If I’m so disengaged and you’re watching just me in that Test match, why were you just watching me?
“Maybe you should have said to Andy Flower – he’s the greatest run scorer for England in all forms of cricket. Why is he like that? What have you done here? That should have been the question. Because a player is what people go to grounds to watch.
“The paying public don’t go there to watch Andy Flower.
“I can look Andy Flower in the eye and say – Andy, everything that’s in my book I told you to your face. Everything. So if you want to do anything about it, you could have done it ages ago.”
Pietersen claims that Flower didn’t built a great England team but, instead, he built a regime in which he was the Antichrist.
“Andy Flower is a master at managing upwards. He’s got Giles Clarke (ECB boss) in his pocket.
You know what, Giles Clarke probably thought – he’s getting results, so he must be doing something right,” said Pietersen.
“But he was just very lucky to have players who matured into great players. Anybody could have coached that side, like the great Australian side. Is John Buchanan a great coach? I’ve heard otherwise.
“My grandmother could have coached that Australia side. My son could have coached our side, two years ago, three years ago.
“Andy Flower didn’t like one of his soldiers to hammer him. He was the boss. He wanted me to fear him.
“I’ll never fear you, buddy.”