Ashes star accused of ‘abusing’ teammate

Former England Test batsman James Taylor has revealed Ashes icon Kevin Pietersen “abused” him in the early stages of his international career.

Taylor played seven Test matches for England, making his debut against South Africa at Leeds in 2012.

The young gun combined with Pietersen for a crucial 147-run partnership in his maiden Test innings, with the former England captain compiling a masterful 149.

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“I like to think my innings got overlooked because (Pietersen) was so unbelievable and played that phenomenal innings which was one of the best innings you’ll see,” Taylor told the Giving The Game Away podcast.

“Arguably, if he’d played to the situation he wouldn’t have played anything like that innings.

“It was a phenomenal innings against one of the best attacks and I just blunted it up the other end, tried to get him on strike, but nobody remembers that I was playing the situation.”

Kevin Pietersen and James Taylor.Source:Getty Images

The 2012 Test series between England and South Africa was marred by off-field controversy after Pietersen allegedly messaged rival players with tips on how to dismiss England captain Andrew Strauss.

Pietersen was promptly cut from the Test side, and Strauss announced his retirement soon after.

In his 2014 autobiography, Pietersen admitted he didn’t believe Taylor was capable of excelling at Test level, specifically taking aim at the batsman’s height.

“I will never use it as an excuse, but people say I didn’t play more because people thought I was too small,” the 167cm Taylor said.

“KP obviously jumped on that bandwagon and said stuff about me because he wanted other people in the team other than me.

“I didn’t know KP. For some reason we never got on, not that I didn’t like him initially because I didn’t know him, he just took it on himself not to be a decent bloke to me or with me around for some reason.”

Kevin Pietersen celebrates his century with James Taylor.Source:Getty Images

Although Taylor conceded Pietersen was a “brilliant” cricketer, the 31-year-old said he didn’t respect him much as a person.

“Usually when somebody’s abusing you or you’re being bullied at school your heart would sink because someone’s being nasty to you, and nobody likes that. But honestly, I didn’t care,” Taylor said. “Not in an arrogant way, but I’m really proud of myself.

“If Alastair Cook or Andrew Strauss had been going, ‘That little James Taylor, he’s rubbish, he’s no good etc etc’, your heart would sink. But honestly, I had no feelings, nothing inside, because I didn’t respect him at the time because I’d seen how he was and what he’d been saying and how he’d behaved – I didn’t respect him as much as I should.

“As a cricketer – legend, brilliant, love watching him. But as a person at the time and what I saw I didn’t respect him that much so it didn’t hurt me as much.”

Pietersen played 104 Test matches for England, scoring 8181 runs and 23 centuries in the game’s longest format.

He was unceremoniously axed from the international side after the catastrophic 2013/14 Ashes series.

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