Matt Prior has launched a savage attack on Piers Morgan after the talk show host accused the England wicketkeeper of undermining former coach Andy Flower during the Ashes.
As the fallout continued after Kevin Pietersen's axing by the England and Wales Cricket Board, Prior engaged in a public slanging match with Morgan, who is one of the dumped batsman's closest and most high-profile supporters.
The spat started when Morgan published what he claimed Prior had said during a players-only meeting called by Alastair Cook and Prior on December 30 in Melbourne.
"Flower's behaving like a headmaster, this is a schoolboy environment. F**K Flower! This is OUR team!' - @MattPrior13 to England team," Morgan tweeted to his 3.95 million followers.
The claim drew a stinging rebuke from Prior, who unleashed a multi-Tweet response questioning Morgan's cricket credentials. Prior even made reference to the former Daily Mirror editor's alleged involvement in the News International phone hacking scandal.
"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 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 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 [sic] what 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 which it was meant!
"There is no story here just an attempt to knock someone who has only ever had the team's best interests at heart and 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"
Morgan also described as "hypocrisy" how Prior could be critical of Flower yet also "stab Pietersen in the back".
KP IN THE BBL
Following Brisbane Heat coach Stuart Law's 'thanks but no thanks' regarding offering Kevin Pietersen a home for next BBL season, it seems Sydney Thunder won't have space for Pietersen's ego either. It's understandable that the Thunder would be edgy over hiring someone like the banished England batsman after their experience with Chris Gayle.
"Of course we would look at a player of the quality of Kevin Pietersen," Thunder boss Nick Cummins said. "But, having gone down that path before, we know that it's not all about your ability to score runs. There are other international players that would probably be a better fit for where we're trying to take the club."
The Sydney Sixers have expressed interest in Pietersen but will do their due diligence before any decision is made. "As far as the Sixers' franchise it's not just his ability, it's his ability to get on in the franchise itself and be an integral member of the team would be a big consideration," said Sixers boss Dominic Remond.
This summer's Sheffield Shield final could be staged in Canberra if NSW win hosting rights due to a fixture clash with the Major League Baseball at the SCG.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and LA Dodgers will play two matches on March 22-23, which coincides with days two and three of the Shield decider.
As part of contingency plans should the Blues finish on top of the Shield table, Cricket NSW are looking at Canberra's Manuka Oval as an alternate venue while Blacktown and Bankstown are also in contention.
Although the SCG remains the spiritual home for the Blues, they have in recent seasons played games at each of the three mooted venues.
The Tonk understands factors such as the weather, the nature of the pitches and the opponent are all considerations for where the game will be played. And no, CNSW will not be picking a venue with the highest likelihood of rain despite the home team needing only to draw the final to claim the title.
Up to 200 former NSW players will be at the SCG next Friday for the next reunion of the Baggy Blues. There will no doubt be plenty of yarns told and exaggerated when the brotherhood gathers for a few beers in the Members Bar while the current Blues engage in battle with traditional rival Victoria in the Shield. The Tonk has been told there will be a special presentation made to eight 100-gamers for their service. The function is part of an initiative by Cricket NSW, which in the past year has had a long list of ex-Blues such as Trevor Bayliss, Geoff Lawson, Stuart MacGill, Dominic Thornely and Mark Cameron hold various coaching roles with the Blues and the organisation's two Big Bash League teams.
with David Sygall