Geoffrey Boycott: Kevin Pietersen and Andy Flower were a “recipe for disaster”

The former England batsman criticises England cricket's handling of Kevin Pietersen, and warns that current captain Alastair Cook isn't up to the challenge of leading England out of the doldrums

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott says that it is no surprise Kevin Pietersen and coach Andy Flower fell out so spectacularly during their time together with England cricket.

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Boycott argued that the way Pietersen’s sacking as England captain in 2009 was handled by the England and Wales Cricket Board was a “recipe for disaster”, which led to the current dispute between the exiled batsman and England.

Furthermore, the Test Match Special pundit believes current England captain Alastair Cook is not the right man to lead England out of this crisis following Pietersen’s claims he was the victim of bullying while with the national side.

“I always felt that at the time when Kevin was captain, when he came back from India after that terrorist attack,” said Boycott at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. “They came home and he [Pietersen] wanted Peter Moores sidelined, he didn’t think he could work with him. Andy Flower was his [Moore’s] second in command. Pietersen wanted him to go too. He was looking for someone to get on with.

“Then when the English Cricket Board sacked Pietersen as captain and sacked Peter Moores, and gave the second in command [Andy Flower] the top job, Kevin had to play under him – after asking for him to be sacked. I thought, ‘This is a recipe for disaster’. There was going to be trouble, there was going to be ill feeling,” Boycott said. “Andy Flower’s going to resent that Kevin asked the board to sack him, and now he’s got the top job.”

This resentment has now apparently boiled over in spectacular fashion, with Pietersen taking full opportunity to air his grievances with the England coaching setup. On Tuesday Pietersen told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “Flower had it in for me ever since he took over.

“The ECB needed a scapegoat,” Pietersen added. “When they sacked me they never gave me any reasons. I still don’t know right now why I’m not playing for England. The ECB needed someone to walk, to depart from the team.”

Officially, the ECB has so far remained silent about the latest accusations in Pietersen’s new book, although a leaked document does outline the various problems England had with Pietersen during the 2013-14 Ashes tour.

Boycott, however, believes Pietersen is entitled to tell his side of the story.

“He’s entitled to his say,” Boycott said. “Not often is somebody who’s very talented gets told he’s not needed. I also felt at the time that the ECB and him should have had the right of explaining their feelings. It was too big an issue to leave for six months with a moratorium or a ban.”

Boycott also questioned whether current England captain was the right man to lead England out of its current malaise, saying that his poor form with the bat is damaging his position as leader.

“Pressure wears you down; it’s like batting with a sack of coal on your back. It’s gets you down eventually, and it’s getting him down,” said Boycott at the festival.

“When you think about it, every day this year we as ex-players and media are all talking about his batting form and his captaincy. That’s got to be debilitating for the team and himself.

“He has to solve that, or the selectors in my opinion should have solved it for him,” Boycott said.

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“You have to be able to think ahead, and see the nuances of the game as they’re developing. I don’t see that with him [Cook]. If I’m pleasantly surprised in the future that he does that, great for England. But I don’t see that at the moment.”