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October 28, 2011
Graeme Swann insisted his relationship with Kevin Pietersen hasn't been strained by the comments he made in his autobiography which was serialised shortly before the start of England's one-day series against India that they lost 5-0.
Swann, who will lead England in the Twenty20 at Kolkata on Saturday, wrote in less-than-glowing terms about Pietersen's short spell as England captain which ended in a dramatic falling out with the then coach Peter Moores. Andy Flower, the current team director, has said that he doesn't like it when players bring out books while they are still playing while Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, was also critical of the timing.
However Swann, who had a poor one-day series where he claimed just two wickets in four matches while being surprisingly left out for the game in Mumbai, has said reports of a breakdown between himself and Pietersen, who is struggling to be fit for the Twenty20 due to a fracture thumb, are way off the mark,
"England have endured a horror month but I can state right now it has nothing to do with what I wrote about Kevin Pietersen in my book," Swann told reporters on Friday. "People have claimed my observation that KP is not a natural leader and should not have captained England has caused dressing-room divisions and a breakdown in team spirit.
"Well, anybody who thinks that does not know this England team. The reason we lost the one-day series 5-0 to India is because we've been outplayed in conditions which suit the home team. No excuses, we've been hammered.
"As soon as I serialised my autobiography, I spoke to Kevin and explained exactly what I'd written, why I'd written it and that it was not intended as a personal attack on him. He accepted that and we shook hands. My relationship with Kevin is exactly the same now as before the book was published."
Swann also defended his team-mates against claims that they have let their on-field aggression become too heated after a number of exchanges with India players during the series. There have also been questions asked about the regular sight of England players shouting at each other and on that count Swann admits he can be culpable
"There has been a lot of talk about England's on-field behaviour in the five-match series, especially after MS Dhoni claimed some of our sledging was over the top and we were arguing among ourselves," he said. "I'd probably plead guilty to the second charge because I am one of the worst culprits.
"As for sledging the opposition, I don't think any of our chat has been over the top or personal. I know there have been running battles with a couple of India's players and I think caused by individuals in our team disliking individuals in their team.
"We have played India for three months now. You're never going to like all 11 blokes in the opposition. I can assure you the comments and personal abuse Samit Patel receives from the Indian players is far worse than anything we've said."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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