The already-controversial Kevin Pietersen saga descended into unseemly back-and-forth on Wednesday, as England wicketkeeper Matt Prior felt compelled to defend his conduct after accusations on Twitter.
Piers Morgan, the prominent CNN journalist and close friend of Pietersen, continued his outburst at the treatment of the former England batsman—whose international career was effectively ended by the England Cricket Board on Tuesday, when he was not selected for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies—by roping in Prior, claiming Prior had criticised ex-head coach Andy Flower following the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.
'Flower's behaving like a headmaster, this is a schoolboy environment. F**K Flower! This is OUR team!' - @MattPrior13 to England team.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 5, 2014
Prior did not take long to respond on Twitter, saying that this was "just an attempt to knock someone who has only ever had the best interests of the team at heart."
I don't do this PR, spinning media rubbish but I refuse to be attacked by a bloke that knows very little about what goes on in the England..— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) February 5, 2014
..setup apart from rumour, gossip and hearsay from certain individuals (most of whom I'd take with a pinch of salt!!) maybe I was recorded..— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) February 5, 2014
...or 'hacked' but if not I'd like to see where these words I apparently said have come from? I'm not the kind of person to divelge what...— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) February 5, 2014
...is said in team meetings but all I will say is that Flower, Cook and the rest of my team mates know exactly what I said & the way in..— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) February 5, 2014
...which it was meant! There is no story here just an attempt to knock someone who has only ever had the teams best interests at heart and..— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) February 5, 2014
...tried my best on and off the field to help the England cricket team. I can hold my head up high in that knowledge! #endof— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) February 5, 2014
Morgan responded by pointing out that Prior had not denied making comments about Flower's ability, although others questioned where Morgan had got his information from—and what their underlying motives might be.
No denial then @MattPrior13 - noted.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 5, 2014
The spat continued a day of fallout from Tuesday's announcement. Earlier on Wednesday, Pietersen's wife, former Liberty X singer Jessica Taylor, angrily responded to suggestions that her husband had been involved in an argument with England Test captain Alastair Cook.
Dominic Cork - there was no 'squaring up' to Alastair Cook or 'off-field antics' in Australia - you are lying,plain & simple.— Jessica Taylor (@JessicaLibertyX) February 5, 2014
Regurgitating rumour & spinning it as fact is not what I'd call responsible journalism. The public deserve so much better - the truth.— Jessica Taylor (@JessicaLibertyX) February 5, 2014
Pietersen's central contract with the ECB is expected to be ripped up in the next few days, once all parties agree on the financial and confidentiality elements of a settlement. But it seems unlikely to be the end of the rumours, accusations and innuendo about the incident—especially if Morgan has anything to say about it.