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We did not back-stab Pietersen, says Harmison

January 11, 2009 15:27 IST

Insisting that Kevin Pietersen had the backing of his teammates during the spat with sacked coach Peter Moores, England pacer Steve Harmison has said reports of players back-stabbing their former skipper were "rubbish and nonsense".

"Andrew Flintoff, Andrew Strauss, myself and other senior England players today stand accused of stabbing our former captain, Kevin Pietersen, in the back over the split with our former coach, Peter Moores, which has ended up costing two good men their jobs. 

"The first thing I need to do is refute that accusation completely. It simply isn't true," Harmison wrote in his column in the Daily Mail. 

"I can say without a moment's hesitation that both Fred (Flintoff) and I supported Kevin as our captain and our leader, Strauss has already made his backing for Kevin quite clear and any suggestion that we turned against him when Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, rang us for our views over the crisis is rubbish.

"The idea that we told Morris that we supported Peter Moores ahead of Kevin is nonsense. To my mind, the only people who have stabbed Kevin in the back are those who chose to leak the information that he had promised to quit the captaincy for the tour to West Indies if Peter remained as coach.

"For not only did that leak - and the public debate that followed - result in Kevin's resignation, it also left Moores, a man I like and respect enormously, out of a job. Both events I deeply regret," he added.

Harmison, however, had the matter been sorted out indoors, the unnecessary embarrassment could have been avoided and English cricket would not have been in the present crisis.

" belief is that had the row stayed in-house, there might still have been a chance for Morris to get Peter and Kevin together to thrash out the issue, and a hugely upsetting and damaging breakdown might have been avoided," he said. 

"Maybe if Kevin and Peter had tried one last time to find common ground in private - without the pressure of the story having been made public and everyone and his dog airing their often misinformed opinions - a different outcome might have taken place," he added.

Harmison also felt the incident won't affect Pietersen much and he would emerge as the best England batsman soon. 

"In my opinion, in the next 35-40 Tests he will prove himself to be one of the best batsmen England have ever had, certainly the best in my time," he said. 

"Nothing that has happened over this past fraught fortnight will weaken his desire to be the best," he added.

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