KP: Swann saved Strauss and Cook
Kevin Pietersen was forced to clarify his position today after claiming his former England captains Andrews Strauss and Alastair Cook were made to "look good" by Graeme Swann.
Ahead of the upcoming five-match Test series against India, Pietersen said Cook "struggles" without the "genius" of the former England spinner.
"I wrote in my first column that the biggest issue facing the England team was the absence of Swann. Alastair Cook struggles to captain the side when opposition batters become established because he cannot toss the ball to Swann, who could defend and attack in equal measure," Pietersen, whose international career was brought to an end by the ECB in February, wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph.
"Swann made Andrew Strauss's captaincy look good and he made Cook's look good, too, by making crucial breakthroughs when the opposition were threatening to take the game away.
"It was down to Swann's genius, and not tactical masterstrokes. The Indians respect Swann hugely, they think he is a fantastic bowler and I know they are licking their lips about facing any other English spinner who bowls to them."
Pietersen's remarks come after Strauss reignited the ill-feeling between the pair when he was overheard calling Pietersen "an absolute c***" while commentating on MCC v Rest of the World for Sky Sports at Lord's on Saturday.
While Strauss thought he was off-air, the feed was still live in some territories and, thanks to social media, was soon heard around the world. Sky Sports and Strauss later apologised over the incident.
However, Pietersen took to his personal Twitter account to clarify that he was not taking any "sly digs" at the pair, claiming he had written the column before Strauss made the remarks.
FYI - my column was written 10 days ago, so there are no 'sly digs' in it at all...I'm merely stating facts!— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) July 8, 2014
Pietersen was suspended for one Test in 2012 after sending derogatory text messages about Strauss, his captain at the time, to members of the South African team that England were facing. Strauss retired from cricket in light of the controversy, though insisted it was not the reason for his decision.
Last week, Stuart Broad suggested that Pietersen and Strauss should go for a quiet drink to resolve their differences.