London: The embattled England batsman Kevin Pietersen has asked the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to make a full-fledged investigation into concerns that teammates James Anderson and Graeme Swann were involved in a parody Twitter account mocking him as talks about his future continue.
The account — KP Genius — poked fun at Peterson’s supposed obsession with money and his ego, and was believed to have upset the 32-year-old. A friend of Stuart Broad — Richard Bailey — has admitted starting the account, and Broad himself has made a public statement insisting he had no involvement in the account. The account has since been closed.
But according to a popular cricket website, Pietersen has named Swann and Anderson, saying that some of the subject matter in the story could only have come from the private conversations he had with the duo.
The issue has turned out to be important to Pietersen because if he is right that his teammates were feeding information to the parody and they were to go unpunished, he would point to double-standards. He was earlier frozen out from the England team after sending private messages to South Africa players about his then captain Andrew Strauss.
England's next T20 international is at Old Trafford on Monday evening. Kevin Pietersen's Surrey go to Lancashire for a championship match on Tuesday. If ever the twain are going to meet, it will be in or around Manchester in the next couple of days.
Pietersen is known to be contrite about his behaviour since returning from the Indian Premier League in May with the psyche of a superman unbound.
His preliminary talks with Andy Flower and Hugh Morris, England's coach and managing director, went well enough for a second round to be arranged, when Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad, the two England captains, will become involved.
The secrecy surrounding these talks is in itself promising. If they were on the verge of breakdown - the talks, that is, not the parties concerned, although Flower was visibly exhausted last Sunday after round one - we would have leaks blaming one party or the other.
For English cricket, it is all unprecedented stuff. Even if the national team has previously contained such a maverick, never has his ego been fuelled by million-dollar contracts from the IPL and sponsors. And unlike most England players, Pietersen did not grow up in English society, so he was not constantly told to stop being a show-pony, and to stop wanting to be the best in the world.
What England's management and senior players will surely want to see first is that Pietersen's contrition is completely genuine. His sponsors will tolerate a certain length of absence from the England team - particularly while he generates even more publicity than normal - but not a prolonged period in the wilderness. To what extent is Pietersen saying sorry because he has to, and how much because he wants to?
England's management and players will also have to weigh up whether Pietersen is contrite for the long term and ready to change some if not all of his spots. Better a clean break now than Pietersen touring India with England this winter, going off to the IPL, then getting home in May to announce he doesn't fancy the Ashes.