Kevin Pietersen insists he never betrayed his former captain Andrew Strauss, in mobile messages he exchanged with England’s opponents South Africa.
Pietersen recalls, in his autobiography which will go on general sale this week, an expletive-ridden “dingdong” when Strauss rang to confront him with reports that he had been highly critical of his captain in private messages in the vexed summer of 2012.
But the superstar batsman claims he merely went along with rather than initiated any criticism of Strauss.
He is adamant that he gave away no team tactics during the Headingley Test, but admits he felt isolated in the harsh regime he depicts as being orchestrated by coach Andy Flower and policed by “the enforcer” Strauss.
Pietersen’s book also revisits his spat as captain with previous coach Peter Moores in the winter of 2008/09 – one which cost both their management role – as well as his account of his terminal axing by the England and Wales Cricket Board eight months ago.
Long before then, his career was controversial – as well as brilliant.
One of its low points was the revelation that he had sent ‘provocative’ messages about his captain to a still unnamed member of the opposition, from his and Strauss’ native South Africa.
“The next day Strauss called me on his own and we had a fine, big dingdong,” he writes.
“He accused me of having done it. I admitted I had been in communication with the South Africans, but it was nothing bad.
“‘These guys are friends. You guys have been treating me like s*** for three years. You’ve been acting like a d*** to me’.
“I went through example after example. The only thing I was guilty of was not defending my captain.”
Pietersen, 34, complains in his book about the “bullying” culture of the England team under Flower.
He added: “Then Straussy, the elder statesman, gave his view. Banter in private messages = huge issue. Bullying in the dressing room = princess-and-the-pea nonsense.
“They didn’t want me to speak to the South Africans – some of my closest friends.
“The Andys were very big on that. It was a typical Andy Flower tick-box exercise: no fraternising.
“Straussy, the enforcer, pulled me away from South African friends on a couple of occasions – embarrassing me.”
It was reported Pietersen used a South African insult – “doos” – about Strauss. He writes: “I didn’t disagree with the sentiment. It was a private message between mates letting off steam. Nobody writes a BBM expecting it to be analysed by millions of people. It was just chatter. He [the South Africa player] said that Strauss was carrying on like an idiot, and that was it.
“It was nothing that I wouldn’t actually say to Straussy myself, at the time or now. I have never and would never give any tactical information about my England team-mates to anyone on the opposing side.”