Matthew Hoggard has called on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to end the "handbags at dawn" with exiled batsman Kevin Pietersen. South-Africa born Pietersen had his ECB central contract cancelled in February following the humiliating 5-0 Ashes whitewash to Australia, amid reports of a falling out with England's hierarchy.
Pietersen has since opened up about his sacking in his new book 'KP: The Autobiography', claiming there was a culture of bullying in the England dressing room. He was particularly scathing of wicketkeeper and former vice-captain Matt Prior, who was accused of leading a clique involving the team's bowling attack that felt other members of the team were "fair game for mocking, ridicule, bullying."
Former England pace bowler Hoggard, who played alongside Pietersen in England's 2005 Ashes victory on home soil, has now called on the ECB to appropriately answer the bullying claims before drawing a line under the long-running dispute.
"[It's] handbags at dawn, I think the KP saga should have been played out behind closed doors," Hoggard told Perform. "I think there should have been more communication between Kevin Pietersen and the hierarchy and the ECB. I think it's very sad that it's come to 'well I'm going to hold fire, let my powder dry and let it all out in a book'. It's a sad state of affairs for English cricket.
"I think they [ECB] need to answer the allegations of bullying, answer the proper allegations. It's time to wipe the slate clean. Yes, they should answer the questions, but after I don't think they should come firing back and lambast Kevin Pietersen. "Someone needs to rise above it and say 'we've answered the questions, [now] let's draw a line under it."
Pietersen has been accused of being difficult to manage. And while Hoggard - who took 248 wickets in 67 Tests for England - admits that has been the case later in his career, he feels that Pietersen has been badly managed. "I think [former England captain] Michael Vaughan talked about having to channel players like Kevin Pietersen and using man-management," he added.
"That's what it comes down to man-management, if everybody was being managed properly the ECB wouldn't be in this mess. "When I first played with KP he was a debutant. In 2005 he dropped a load of catches, but nobody got at him and nobody bullied him. "I can remember sitting down at a bar in Perth in Australia in 2006-7 and said 'look Kev you're peeing a lot of people off' and we sat down and had a beer and had a chat and came away with a lot better understanding of each other.
"He didn't mean to be doing the things that were annoying people, we came away a lot better team-mates. "It is what it is with Kevin Pietersen. He likes to be in the limelight, the older he got and the more senior he got the harder he became to manage."
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