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KP's claims of bullying backed up by Ponting; Ex-Australia skipper says he saw intimidation.

CRICKET By DAVID CLOUGH and ANDY HAMPSON KEVIN PIETERSEN's bitter parting with England is threatening to sow seeds of more pain for the national team as his claims of bullying in the dressing room struck a chord with opponents round the world.

As Pietersen, and England, were urged to "move on" by his former Ashes-winning team-mate and latterly coach Ashley Giles, revelations in his autobiography about constant bullying in the camp were corroborated by former Australia captain Ricky Ponting. Ponting recognises Pietersen's depiction of Graeme Swann as one of the main protagonists when it came to intimidating teammates who made fielding errors.

Swann has denied any issue with bullying by him, fellow bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson - or Pietersen's least favourite of all, wicketkeeper Matt Prior - and England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton has also said no such issue has ever been reported to management.

But Ponting spoke up in Pietersen's defence.

Ponting said of the alleged on-field antics: "We saw them doing it - Anderson was always the same, and Swann.

"The pointing of fingers, and you'd hear a few expletives if there was a misfield or a dropped catch.

"The guys who were doing it were the socalled leaders. That's where the captain has got to come in, not wait and let little things turn into big things. That's what it sounds like has happened in this England team."

Ponting led Australia in four Ashes series and recalls long-standing evidence of bullying among the opposition.

He added: "They had a lot of very good players that were able to achieve a lot of success as a team. But if you could just get inside of them and start pulling them apart, we always had a feeling they would implode pretty quickly - and that's what's happened over the past 12 months."

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Ricky Ponting led Australia in four Ashes series and says England |bowlers would point fingers when there was a dropped catch in the field

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Oct 9, 2014
Words:331
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