Kevin Pietersen‘s IPL exploits gained him a plethora of Indian followers during his playing days, but the batsman’s hefty paychecks also created a divide in the England team, according to Michael Vaughan.
“I think there was a lot of jealousy,” Vaughan told foxsports.com.au. “And the players will completely deny it now, but I think there was at the time when Kevin was on a massive contract.”
In 2009, Pietersen became a high-profile overseas signing for Royal Challengers Bangalore, bagging a US$ 1.55 million deal, the same value Andrew Flintoff went to Chennai Super Kings for.
In the latter part of his career, Pietersen had multiple run-ins with the ECB, with his IPL participation being one of the points of contention. In 2012, former England head coach Andy Flower had admitted that Pietersen’s willingness to participate in a full season of IPL acted as “a catalyst for a lot of the stuff.”
Vaughan has revealed how Pietersen’s eagerness to participate in the cash-rich league, along with the fortune he was making in India, split the team into two factions.
"He sings when the bowlers are running up to bowl to him and just goes pongo, pingo, pango – just whacks it all over the place."
Kevin Pietersen recollects the joy of batting alongside Virender Sehwag.https://t.co/oEfNCUb7ib
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 25, 2020
“There were all sorts of whispers and rumours of cliques in the team. There was a little band of a few; Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan, [James] Anderson, [Stuart] Broad and Matt Prior. The whispers were they were on one side and Kevin was kind of standing on his own on the other side.”
“It wasn’t anything other than that Kev [ Pietersen ] around that time wanted to go to the IPL. That’s how it all started to blow up and that’s when those factions came into play.
“He was saying to the team he wanted to play because it would further the development of the one-day team and all the one-day players would get the chance to play there and improve their game. They deemed that he just wanted to go for the money. He was on a big contract while not many of the other players were even getting sniffed at.”
“It was very much Kevin against the team in terms of that one.”