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October 16, 2011
England coach Andy Flower has made clear his opinion that autobiographies by current players are a bad idea after the publishing of excerpts from Graeme Swann's new book, The Breaks are Off, in the national press. The published sections included Swann's claims that Kevin Pietersen was never the right man to captain England and does not command respect in the same way as the more reserved Andrew Strauss.
Flower was comforted by Pietersen's "mature handling" of the situation and insisted the players remain friends, but when asked whether he believes players should wait until professional retirement to air critiques of their team-mates, he said: "That's my personal opinion, yes.
"I personally don't think that it's a good idea for current players to be talking about their fellow players. The written word does come across very, very differently - when you can't judge a person's tone. It's all been handled in-house, without many problems. Pietersen and Swann get on well, and I think Pietersen has handled it very maturely."
Pietersen was named England captain in August 2008, but his tenure lasted just five months after a much-publicised spat with then-coach Peter Moores. Strauss then took up the role and under his leadership England have been crowned the world's No. 1 Test team.
Pietersen's tenure included a 0-5 one-day series loss in India in 2008, which included his last ODI hundred - an unbeaten 111 in a six-wicket loss in Cuttack. Pietersen was stripped of the captaincy not long afterwards, and since then has averaged just 22.74 in one-day cricket.
He has rediscovered consistent form in Test and Twenty20 cricket, however, and Flower backed the batsman to make a telling contribution in the remaining four matches of England's series against India. "He is actually in very good form," Flower said. "His form in other formats during the last English summer was outstanding. He should be able to get runs out here, and I expect him to."
Flower conceded that England had been outplayed by India in the 126-run loss on Friday, but argued that his team had the skills and character to fight back and turn the series around.
"This group of England cricketers has shown they are of strong character, and I expect us to bounce back. We were outplayed by the Indians on this occasion. They out-fielded us - something that doesn't often happen to us - and we didn't deserve to win the game. But one down in a five-match series, we're going to look to do something about that in Delhi.
"Our problem was that we weren't able to manipulate the spinners as well as they did in the middle overs - a catalyst for a number of wickets in that period. There were various aspects of the game that were good - [Alastair] Cook played nicely, again went at a run-a-ball. But in the main, we under-performed."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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