The 2009 edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) saw the tournament transcending barriers across the UK with big purchases of two players in the auctions.
Both Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen were handed lucrative contracts. Pietersen bagged a $1.55 million contract for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) while Flintoff’s services were purchased by Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
England’s former captain Michael Vaughan has spilt beans regarding the jealousy within the Three Lions brigade over Pietersen’s cash-heavy contract.
“I think there was a lot of jealousy. And the players will completely deny it now but I think there was at the time when Kevin was on a massive contract,” Vaughan told Fox Sports.
Also, Vaughan revealed about the groups within the team with ‘whispers’ and ‘rumours’ floating around. “There were all sorts of whispers and rumours of cliques in the team. There was a little band of a few; Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan, (James) Anderson, (Stuart) Broad and Matt Prior. The whispers were they were on one side and Kevin was kind of standing on his own on the other side,” continued the former England captain.
It was only under the directorship of Andrew Strauss that a large number of English internationals began to take part in the IPL. Earlier, England Cricket Board (ECB) hesitated to provide No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to its players, to take part in a domestic league of another country.
“It wasn’t anything other than that Kev around that time wanted to go to the IPL. That’s how it all started to blow up and that’s when those factions came into play,” continued Vaughan.
Pietersen, on the other hand, did not have a cordial relationship with several players in the team. With his infamous ‘Text Message Gate’ with the South African team, the ultimate nail in Pietersen‘s international career was hit. He never went on to represent England again and retired from international cricket in 2018.
“He was saying to the team he wanted to play because it would further the development of the one-day team and all the one-day players would get the chance to play there and improve their game. They deemed that he just wanted to go for the money. He was on a big contract while not many of the other players were even getting sniffed at. It was very much Kevin against the team in terms of that one,” Vaughan concluded.