Former England captain Stewart `absolutely stands by` Pietersen

Former England captain Alec Stewart insisted Wednesday that Kevin Pietersen had been right to complain of England players` involvement in a parody Twitter account mocking the star batsman.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 09, 2014, 06:41 AM IST

London: Former England captain Alec Stewart insisted Wednesday that Kevin Pietersen had been right to complain of England players` involvement in a parody Twitter account mocking the star batsman.

Pietersen, in a heavily-trailed autobiography which is on general sale on Thursday, has written of a "bullying" culture during his time within the England dressing room.

In particular, he did not take kindly to the `KPgenius` Twitter account owned by Richard Bailey, a friend of England paceman Stuart Broad.

Pietersen`s book states Bailey told Stewart he had insider help with the account.

However, Bailey has persistently denied this and on Wednesday he again insisted no England players had been involved, telling the Guardian newspaper: "They 100 percent did not tweet it."

But Stewart, South Africa-born Pietersen`s coach at county side Surrey, in an interview with Britain`s Daily Telegraph, said he passed on information to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after Bailey told him three England players were involved.

"I absolutely stand by what is written in Pietersen`s book," Stewart told the Telegraph.

"I went and told Hugh Morris (the ECB`s then managing director) and Andy Flower (England`s then head coach) on separate occasions what I had been told by this fella."

Recalling a meeting with Bailey at a Test in 2012, Stewart added: "I said to him some of it (the account) was very funny and that he had got some good information. He said yes I do. He then said, `Can you keep a secret?` I said, `It depends`.

"He went away and then came back and named three players who had access to the account password.

"If that was the case it did not sit well with me that three players were taking the mickey out of a fellow player publicly to that extent on a public forum.

"I passed it on to the ECB and it was up to them how they dealt with it.

"I was doing it for the good of the England team and how the hierarchy dealt with it was up to them but I felt they had to be made aware of it," added Stewart, England`s most-capped player.Pietersen`s autobiography accuses England`s senior bowlers and wicketkeeper Matt Prior of aggressively demanding apologies from team-mates not in their clique for any mistakes they made while fielding.

It was a claim supported by former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who told the Sydney Daily Telegraph on Wednesday: "We saw them doing it, (James) Anderson was always the same, and (Graeme) Swann."

Pietersen, effectively sacked by England after their 5-0 Ashes debacle in Australia was completed earlier this year despite being their all-time leading run-scorer, responded to Ponting`s comments by saying Wednesday: "I haven`t even spoken to Punter (Ponting).

"When I woke up this morning and I saw this, one of the greatest cricketers to have ever played the game, how do you think he views it when he`s in the opposition and he`s seeing team mates abuse each other and bully each other on a cricket field?

"How do you reckon it feels for the individuals that are going through it in the dressing room? I`ve been speaking to the coach about it for years."

Pietersen`s prospects of playing for England again appear slim but the 34-year-old insisted Wednesday he had not given up hope of an international recall.

"Six months` time, you never know, there could be a change at the top, I live in hope," Pietersen said. "And one day I hope to be able to play Test cricket again."

The ECB have yet to respond to Pietersen`s allegations.