Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, believes Kevin Pietersen should never have been reinstated into the England team after the text-gate scandal in 2012, saying the effects of that decision are still being felt by certain players.
Pietersen and then-captain Andrew Strauss had a falling out during South Africa’s 2012 tour of England, and things came to a head when Pietersen texted his friends in the opposition, allegedly insulting Strauss. The dynamic batsman was then dropped midway through the series, despite scoring a century in Headingley, and South Africa’s victory in the final Test won them the series, allowing them to take the No.1 rankings spot.
Among the allegations levelled on Pietersen during the text-gate scandal was that he’d given South African mates tips on how to get Strauss out – something Pietersen has always denied.
Pietersen, however, returned to the side for the tour of India later that year, under new captain Alastair Cook after Strauss had retired, and his majestic 186 in Mumbai helped England claim a fine series win in the sub-continent. Despite that, Vaughan believes he should never have been brought back.
“In 2012, his text was bang out of order,” Vaughan told foxsports.com.au. “Now, where English cricket were wrong, in my opinion, was they allowed him back in and he went to India. You felt like they used him to win a big series and then when it started to go pear-shaped again it was almost as if they had this excuse of why it was and it was always going to be Kevin Pietersen.
“Once he was back in for the India tour, they had to manage him. They knew what he was about. He’s a little bit precious, he’s a bit sensitive, he needs managing day-to-day, he can’t be managed as one of the team – that’s just not him.
“I just don’t think they were doing that. I think they were just putting it to one side … they managed players brilliantly for many years but I just feel around that time they just let it drift and they were looking for a scapegoat, and he was the perfect excuse.”
Vaughan believes England’s loss in the Ashes in 2013-14 was unfairly blamed on Pietersen. “We were getting briefed in the comm box through messages from the England coach at the time, Andy Flower, that it was all (because of) Kevin,” he said.
“All I kept hearing was ‘Kevin Pietersen’ and I kept going ‘bulls**t, can’t be just one person. Manage him. You can’t allow one person to derail 15. And it can’t be that it’s just him’. It was the saddest tour I’ve been on with an England side, because it was just the team getting battered, and all you could ever hear was fallout within the England camp.”