• England's Pietersen dilemma

Pietersen names England Twitter suspects

George Dobell
September 9, 2012 « Hodgson: Cleverley ready to be England's Fabregas | Chartbeat test »
Kevin Pietersen suspects England team-mates James Anderson and Graeme Swann fed information to the Twitter account that ridiculed him © AFP
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Kevin Pietersen has pressed England to carry out a serious investigation into his suspicion that his England team-mates Graeme Swann and James Anderson were feeding information to the parody Twitter account - KP Genius - in a prolonged stalemate that continues to dog attempts to reintegrate him into the England team.

Pietersen has made an England investigation a central part of any rapprochement with England. Initial meetings with the England coach, Andy Flower, a week ago failed to find immediate common ground for a resumption of his international career.

Selectors are due to announce in the next few days the Test squad to tour India. He was also not named in England's list of central contracts for 2012 although it was indicated that other names could be added.

The account, which suggested Pietersen was vainglorious and obsessed by money, was followed by several members of the team and, at times, even elicited a good-humoured response from Pietersen before his attitude abruptly changed as his relationships with the ECB and his England team-mates deteriorated.

Richard Bailey, a cricket lover who shares a house with a couple of members of the Nottinghamshire team and is a friend of England's T20 captain Stuart Broad, had admitted he was behind the account and insists no-one else was involved.

Broad has denied any involvement or knowledge of the account and it has subsequently been discontinued.

But Pietersen remains convinced that other England players were involved - and he has made his feelings clear. If he is to reach what he views as a fair compromise with his reputation intact and with an admission of faults on both sides then it seems that he is not prepared to let this matter rest. Whether a dressing room could knit together again after such a lengthy dispute is questionable.

Specifically he feels that the contents of private conversations between him, Anderson and Swann were referenced in various tweets. As a consequence, Pietersen feels he has been the victim of double standards after being disciplined for sending private messages to members of the South Africa touring party that contained derogatory comments about recently retired England Test captain Andrew Strauss.

ESPNcricinfo is not aware that Pietersen has provided definite proof that either Swann or Anderson were directly involved.

The episode is a headache that will not go away for Flower. Coming days before England depart for Sri Lanka in an attempt to defend their World T20 title and days before they name their Test squad for the tour of India, it is a distraction that he and the players could well do without. If Pietersen has hard evidence to support his views - and it is hard to see how he does - then the results could be devastating.

With both sides apparently too entrenched in their views to accept an amnesty, it is also hard to see a happy ending to a saga that continues to damage the individuals and the England team.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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