Kevin Pietersen: Alec Stewart told ECB of Twitter parody insiders

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen was England's highest run-scorer during their 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia last winter

Alec Stewart told the ECB in July 2012 Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan had access to a parody Twitter account mocking Kevin Pietersen.

Stewart claims he was told by its creator, Richard Bailey, the trio had passwords to the @KPGenius account.

The ECB said it conducted "a thorough and robust investigation" after Surrey coach Stewart had raised his concerns, speaking to all three of the players.

Swann, Broad and Bresnan assured them they had no involvement in the account.

Pietersen, in his autobiography, says the account was an example of "bullying" in England's dressing room.

There is no suggestion any of the trio contributed to the account.

Tim Bresnan tweeted:external-link "Disappointed to be implicated in the #kpgenius account. I 100% did NOT have any password. And wasn't involved In any posting."

Stewart, England's most-capped Test cricketer, said Bailey - who has no official connection to the England camp - introduced himself as the account's author during the Test against South Africa at the Oval in 2012 and revealed Swann, Broad and Bresnan had access to it.

Pietersen parodied
Some of the tweets posted by 'KP Genius', the unofficial Twitter account parodying Kevin Pietersen:
"People who say Test cricket is the pinnacle haven't played IPL in front of 80,000, slapping Indian medium pacers about at a 141% strike rate." (7 August 2012)
"Plenty of bonus for KP this Test. Ton bonus, wkt bonus (x4), MoM bonus + genius bonus. That's more cash than the average human can count." (6 August 2012)
"Note to ex-pros. Make sure you're better than KP before you have a pop. Which means unless you're Don Bradman, keep your mouth shut." (30 July 2012)

"It didn't sit comfortably with me as an ex-England cricketer and an England fan that this type of thing might be going on," Stewart, 51, told BBC Radio 5 live.

"Not because I wanted them to get fined or anything - I've huge admiration for all three - but it didn't sit comfortably with me if factually correct.

"I had a conversation with then ECB managing director Hugh Morris during the Oval Test match and then with England coach Andy Flower at a later date.

"It was then down to the ECB to investigate things if they wanted to or they could ignore it. After that I don't know what happened."

Pietersen wrote of the exchange between Bailey and Stewart in his book, but Bailey claimed in the Guardianexternal-link this week that he only told the former England captain that "some of the England players might know that he was behind the tweets".

"The reason why I'm prepared to talk about this is because Bailey said he didn't say anything to me, therefore doubting my integrity and I won't have that," said Stewart.

Former England coach Andy Flower and Alec Stewart
Stewart, standing right, spoke with Andy Flower, standing centre, about his concerns

In a separate interview with BBC Radio 5 live this week, Pietersen accused the ECB of "burying" the issue of the Twitter account despite being aware of "how it made me feel", adding that he was "ruined" after he was told that some of his team-mates might be behind the account.

The England team were questioned individually about the parody account at the time it came to light and all denied being behind it.

The ECB said it reminded all players they should not be following the account.

They also issued a press releaseexternal-link stressing the players and the account owner denied they had been involved in @KPGenius.

Bresnan insisted in August 2012external-link that the atmosphere among the England team was healthy, despite Pietersen saying earlier that month that "it is tough being me and playing for England".

The account was closed shortly afterwards, with Bailey apologisingexternal-link "to anyone I know involved with England Cricket who I may have put in an awkward or embarrassing position".

Pietersen's England career was ended in February 2014 as the ECB attempted to rebuild "the team ethic" in the wake of a 5-0 Ashes whitewash against Australia.