Jan 8, 2009

Sport - Cricket;Pietersen did not have support from teammates: Media

Kevin Pietersen's sensational resignation from the post of England captain was a fallout of lack support from his teammates, especially all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, in the bitter row with coach Peter Moores, British media said on Thursday.

Leading daily 'The Guardian' wrote that the captain's exit was "inevitable" as the England and Wales Cricket Board "realised the extent of the dressing-room antipathy towards him".

"The enforced resignation of Kevin Pietersen, it was asserted on Wednesday, was inevitable because he had conducted his campaign against the England coach Peter Moores, in the public domain. Except that is pure baloney. Pietersen had done no such thing," the paper said.

"Pietersen's intention was to undertake a silent revolution against Moores and he might just have pulled it off. But the rift became public on New Year's Eve... And ECB (Managing Director Hugh) Morris was obliged to take soundings from senior players.

"He (Pietersen) had wrongly assumed that he had earned enough professional respect among England's senior players that he would gain support," it said.

Pietersen, who was cynosure of all eyes after England returned to India following the Mumbai terror attacks, could have stayed on as the captain despite Moores' removal if the team had backed him, feels the press.

Tabloid 'Daily Mirror' also echoed the views as its headline screamed 'Knifed in the Back'.

The paper said Pietersen quit before he was pushed after a "startling vote of no confidence from his own players" left him with "no room for manoeuvre". 'The Ego with Egg on his Face' was another title in the paper which felt Pietersen paid the price for taking such a public stand against Moores.

Star all-rounder Flintoff was blamed for favouring Moores over South Africa-born Pietersen as a 'Daily Mail' headline read 'Flintoff leads a mutiny'.

A report in the 'The Sun' also was on similar sentiments as it splashed headlines 'Flintoff and Co stuck in knife' and 'England cricket is ripped apart from hatred' while saying the entire episode had left "England divided and demoralised".

"Kevin Pietersen was forced into resigning as England Test and one-day captain after all rounder Andrew Flintoff and new skipper Andrew Strauss refused to back him and ECBs Managing Director Hugh Morris hinted at divisions in the team.

"The role of Andrew Flintoff in his downfall will be keenly discussed. Flintoff and Strauss named KPs replacement are understood to have stuck the knife in.

"And England boss Morris hinted at divisions in the team when he said: Kevin recognised that, in the present situation, it was impossible to restore dressing-room unity," the paper read.

The Times blamed Moores's "aggressive style of management" but said Pietersen "cannot issue an ultimatum to his employers at the first sign of disagreement, especially when he does not have the full backing of his own players".

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