‘It’s your f****** fault Kevin’ – Graeme Swann revisits ‘Textgate’, opens up on ‘KP Genius’ feud with Kevin Pietersen
Graeme Swann opened up on his relationship with Kevin Pietersen in his final years playing for England, saying he gave the former England batter “both barrels” in a reintegration meeting after the ‘Textgate’ saga.
The former England spinner was giving an interview on the ‘Rig Biz Pod’ about his relationship with Pietersen, going into details on the breakdown of Pietersen’s relationship with the England team.
Swann has discussed his dislike for Pietersen before, detailing again on this occasion: “Me and Kev never liked each other anyway.”
Despite their apparently mutual animosity, the two were instrumental in contributing to the England side that reached No.1 in the world in the early 2010s. But the pair shared a rocky and tumultuous relationship within the confines of the dressing room. Each had their share of controversy, with Pietersen dropped by England in 2012 over the ‘Textgate’ scandal, in which it was revealed he had sent members of the South African team derogatory messages about England captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower.
“When I look back it was the most bizarre thing, you know you’re living in a bit of a soap opera,” Swann said. “I mean Kev’s different, lets face it. I have no hard feelings, live your life once things are over. But Kev’s different to everyone else I have ever met in my life. He knows he is different and he says he is different, that makes him different.”
“He said ‘it is hard to be me in this changing room.’ Yeah Kev, you f***** it all up and that’s why.”
Swann disclosed new details of a meeting with a conflict resolution expert in the aftermath of the scandal.
“We had to have meetings at the golf course in Oxford,” said Swann. “We were all called in one by one. There was a conflict resolution expert from the business world, this little fellow, Chelsea fan. We had to go in one at a time and say if we had any beef with Kevin. Kevin was there and so was Alastair Cook and Andy Flower. I went both barrels because I thought ‘I f****** can’t believe I have got to do this on my day off.’”
When asked about the bullying claims made by Pietersen, Swann said: “There’s a batsman and bowler thing in cricket. Batsman are all p******, they can’t accept their own failures and hold their hand up, when they f*** up in the field, and say, ‘sorry’.”
Swann added: “Kevin used that as proof he was being bullied. Kevin is 6’4, South African and could have easily got in the Springbok team. It was absolute bollocks and everyone knew it was bollocks. However, people will believe someone if they have a sob story.”
While both ex-players have openly criticised one another previously, in 2020 Swann told Sky Sports, “We actually got on better professionally than most other people because we were honest with each other… We openly disliked each other, but we wanted each other in the team. I wanted a Kevin Pietersen who was scoring runs because he was simply one of the best in the world.”
In his interview with Rig Biz Pod, Swann also refuted the suggestion that he was behind the infamous parody Twitter account, ‘KP Genius’.
“To this day he still thinks it was me,” said Swann. “I said to him ‘Kevin, I don’t like you and you don’t like me. I spend as little time thinking about you as possible as you do with me. Why would I do this? How am I doing this while the game is on?’”
“Kev absolutely loved that account and he was reading it aloud, laughing and saying, ‘look at this, this is great.’ He happily went along with it, until he f***** up with those text messages.”
Pietersen and Swann last played for England on the disastrous 2013/14 Ashes tour. Swann announced his retirement midway through the tour, while Pietersen was not selected for England again after its conclusion.