Flower vs Pietersen and a brief history of KP's cricketing feuds
England coach denies that he has become the latest figure to fall out with star batsman
DAYS after the Ashes whitewash English cricket has been plunged into further crisis after claims that head coach Andy Flower has refused to carry on working with controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen.
Both men have made it clear they want to continue with the England set-up and help win back the Ashes in 2015 after the debacle in Australia, but it now appears that only one of them will survive the fall out of the 5-0 defeat.
The relationship between the pair has deteriorated to such an extent that Flower has, according to the Daily Mail, "effectively told the ECB: Ditch Kevin Pietersen or I'll quit".
The paper describes the move as "a gamble by the hugely principled Flower", particularly as dropping Pietersen would weaken the current team. "But it is one he is fully prepared to take and he will walk away with his head held high if the ECB decide their loyal support for him cannot be extended now." Although Flower called the story, which was carried in most media, "totally inaccurate" it is not the first time that Pietersen has found himself at the centre of a feud.
Here are some of his other fall outs:
Pietersen v South Africa
KP was born and grew up in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and made his first class debut for Natal in 1997. But in 2000 he decided to quit his homeland and move to England, where his mother was born, because of the racial quota system, which forced sides to field at least four non-white players. In his 2006 autobiography he said the decision was "heartbreaking" but explained: "If you do well you should play on merit. That goes for any person of any colour." However, his decision led to bad blood between Pietersen and several members of the South African squad and he became a hate figure for many fans.
Pietersen v Nottinghamshire
His first English county was Nottinghamshire, where he was transformed from an off-spinning all-rounder to a devastating batsman destined for international stardom. But he left under a cloud. When the county was relegated in 2003 Pietersen said he wanted to move on. His kit was reportedly thrown off the pavilion balcony by captain Jason Gallian after a huge row. Despite threatening legal action Pietersen was made to see out the final year of his contract before joining Hampshire in late 2004.
Pietersen v Moores
In 2008 Pietersen was made England captain, but immediately clashed with then coach Peter Moores. Things came to a head in January 2009 when Pietersen called for Moores to be removed from his role, telling the media: "This situation is not healthy." Within days the ECB had announced that Moores had been sacked and that Pietersen had resigned. It was then that Andy Flower, Moores's deputy, took over as coach. Andrew Strauss was handed the captaincy.
Pietersen v Swann
Tales of problems between KP and his team-mates began to emerge when spinner Graeme Swann published his autobiography in 2011. In it criticised Pietersen's captaincy and fall-out with Moores. "There is no doubt that Kev is a good player, a really fine batsman, but he was never the right man to be captain," wrote Swann. The damage was lasting and the pair are not thought to get on. When Swann retired there was speculation that he had taken a parting shot at KP with references to some players being "up their own backsides", something he has denied.
Pietersen v Strauss
Worse was to come for Pietersen the next year when he was forced to admit sending insulting text messages about captain Strauss to members of the touring South Africa team, having earlier hinted at dressing room divisions and accusing some team mates of setting up a spoof Twitter account poking fun at him. The bizarre episode culminated with Pietersen being dropped from the side for the final Test against South Africa. Strauss retired from all forms of cricket at the end of the season, and KP was eventually "reintegrated" into the team.