The independent voice of cricket

International Cricket

Swann on KP: We openly disliked each other, but wanted each other in the team

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Graeme Swann says that he and former England team-mate Kevin Pietersen “openly disliked each other”, but that their relationship was better off because they both acknowledged that fact.

“We actually got on better professionally than most other people because we were honest with each other,” he told Sky Sports. “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.”

Pietersen had a tumultuous time in the England set-up. A six-month stint as captain ended in his and head coach Peter Moores’ sackings, and he was later left out of the England team for the final Test of the 2012 series against South Africa for sending critical texts to the opposing team about then-captain Andrew Strauss. His England career came to an end in acrimonious circumstances following the 2013/14 Ashes, with his behaviour during that series, which England lost 5-0, criticised.

“There were times when there were exterior things like the texting with Andrew Strauss,” said Swann. “When you’re getting to the point that you’re having team meetings to discuss, ‘What are we going to do about these text messages that have been sent?’, and the player is saying, ‘I did not send these, it’s complete lies’, and then subsequently, you know he’s sent them and he’s saying ‘Well I did send them because they’re my mates’, that doesn’t help things.”

However, Swann denies that there were factions within the England dressing room at any point, and says that he and Pietersen were “actually very similar in many ways”.

“There weren’t discernible cliques,” he said. “We’re a team who got to No.1 in the world, and within a team there are always going to be individuals… 99 per cent of that team were very much in it for the team as well. What we ended up having with Kevin was a situation where he’d been captain before, and he definitely didn’t like the establishment and rules, much like me. We were actually very similar in many ways, me and Kev.”

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99