10 Oct 2014

Swann labels Pietersen's book "codswallop"

11:43 am on 10 October 2014

Former England cricket international Graeme Swann has called former team-mate Kevin Pietersen's new book "the biggest work of fiction since Jules Verne".

Speaking at an awards ceremony at Lord's, Swann denied accusations that he was part of a clique of bowlers guilty of what Pietersen called "mocking, ridicule, bullying".

The South African-born batsman also included wicketkeeper Matt Prior in his criticisms of England Test players.

Swann says he realised it was codswallop when he read the character assassination of Matt Prior.

He says the one person who fought tooth and nail to keep Pietesen in the side was Prior.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, whose managing director Paul Downton is also heavily criticised in the book, declined to comment.

In an interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on the launch of his autobiography, Pietersen also opened up about the 'text-gate' controversy which saw him dropped for exchanging disparaging messages with South Africa cricketers about former England captain Andrew Strauss.

Pietersen, who's 34, was sacked following the 5-0 Ashes defeat by Australia, with the governing body saying captain Alastair Cook needed to be able to trust and rely on the backing of all his players.

Pietersen, who was England's highest run-scorer in the series and remains the fifth highest of all-time, alleged Prior and England's bowlers "ran the dressing room" by intimidation and little was done to discourage it.

Former England international cricketer Kevin Pietersen.

Former England international cricketer Kevin Pietersen. Photo: Photosport

He says the "bowlers were given so much power. They were doing really well. Swanny (former England spinner Graeme Swann) was winning game after game for us. Broady (England paceman Stuart Broad) was contributing. Jimmy (Anderson) was contributing."

The England and Wales Cricket Board was not available for comment.

Pietersen details personal clashes with Flower, ranging from dressing room harmony to the presence of family on tour, and said the former Zimbabwe captain had long held a grudge against him.

On his exclusion from the team, Pietersen described it as a political power play between he and Prior which the batsman had lost when Flower sided with the wicketkeeper.

Kevin Pietersen alleges there was a campaign of bullying inside the England team.

Kevin Pietersen alleges there was a campaign of bullying inside the England team. Photo: Photosport

On the text-gate scandal, Pietersen said his crime was not disagreeing with his South African colleagues' description of Strauss as a 'doos'.

"A doos, which is just an idiot. I regret being involved in conversations like that, and I shouldn't have been, but mentally I was totally broken.

"Because of what had happened the previous week, where I got told by a senior player that that Twitter account was being run from inside our dressing room," Pietersen added, referring to a parody account that poked fun of him.

"I was completely broken, absolutely finished, mentally shot."