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KP nuts? Cricketing world speaks out on Pietersen outburst

It seems that Kevin Pietersen is trying everything possible to ensure he never gets picked for England again, despite repeatedly claiming he still would welcome a recall. Most recently he said: “If somebody said there was a strong chance of playing for England I would leave this interview and go and play county cricket, any cricket and do it right now.”

Coral, therefore, give tempting odds of 25/1 for the controversial cricketing superstar to make a dramatic return to the senior international side in any form of the game.

This follows the apparent revelations that Pietersen has made in his new autobiography, simply entitled ‘KP’, where he has gone all out on slating some of his old colleagues and the set-up in general.

In particular, he singles out former teammate and fellow South African-born player Matt Prior, labelling him and some of the experienced bowlers as introducing a “culture of bullying”, while there were also predictably words aimed at Andy Flower.

On the ex-England head coach, Pietersen said: “He built a regime, he didn’t build a team. I’ve told him this before. I told him during his coaching reign. I told him on numerous occasions: ‘You’re playing by fear here, you want guys to be scared of you. And Andy I’m not scared of you.’ And he hated it.”

Understandably, the cricketing world has reacted to these claims, with some former England captains even supporting outcast Pietersen.

Nasser Hussain, who skippered the side from 1999-2003, was in agreement with some of what was said, but added that the big-hitting batsman was too outspoken to be given the chance for an international recall.

“Kevin is absolutely allowed his opinion and I have nodded at and agreed with some of the things I have read, including some of the stuff about team spirit and shouting at players,” Hussain said.

“However, I can’t see any way back for him with some of the things he has said in his book and that’s probably the one thing he will be most disappointed with this year.”

Hussain’s successor, Michael Vaughan, was also in agreement with Pietersen, adding the “bowlers’ cabal [has been a] problem for several years.

“The likes of Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad have been disrespectful to [their own] fielders,” he continued.

“No one drops a catch on purpose. How would they feel if every time they bowled a bad ball everyone turned to them and said: ‘What the hell are you doing?’

“The irony is that James Anderson has spoken about how difficult it was for him when he first played for England. So I hope these bowlers know what they are doing to the guys around them, especially the inexperienced ones.”

Swann and Prior have of course responded to the criticism, with the former spinner hitting back, saying: “I expected it to be the biggest work of fiction since Jules Verne and that seems to have happened. The one thing I will say is that I immediately realised it was codswallop when I read the character assassination of Matt Prior.

“Tragically I don’t think Kev realises the one person who fought tooth and nail to keep him in the side is the one person he is now assassinating: Matt Prior,” Swann, who recently criticised Alastair Cook’s ODI captaincy, added.

“Kevin has been quite clever because the guys still playing he has left alone and he hopes to get back in again one day.

“He has picked on people who he thinks can’t answer back. If that [bullying] was the case a lot of people would have flagged it up before.”

Wicketkeeper Prior, meanwhile, posted on Twitter: “Obvs sad to see the accusations against me this am and I WILL have my right of reply! However today is not the day and Twitter is not the place for it!”

England’s performances recently have been much-criticised, with many fans calling for Pietersen’s return to the international set-up, especially with the ODI World Cup coming up in February in New Zealand and Australia. However, the prolific batsman, who has the most runs in history for his adopted nation has been in poor form since his axing after the 5-0 Ashes thrashing.

While Pietersen is almost certain to miss out on selection for the World Cup, England, who will be led by Cook, can be backed at 8/1 to win the competition.