Kevin Pietersen blocks Mitchell Johnson on Twitter after Ashes war of words
The two exchanged tweets following England's loss to Australia in the first Test.
What’s the story?
Kevin Pietersen and Mitchell Johnson, two of the most combative characters on the cricket pitch, re-ignited their ‘love’ for each other on Twitter, exchanging a barrage of tweets taking a dig at each other following England’s humbling loss to Australia in the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba.
In case you didn’t know…
Johnson and Pietersen had multiple run-ins on the cricket pitch, most notably during the 2013-14 Ashes, when Johnson was spewing venom with the ball.
The left-arm pacer was in the form of his life during that series, picking up 37 wickets and troubling most of the English batsmen during Australia’s 5-0 drubbing of the visitors. It was the last series Pietersen played for England, after which his squabble with the England Cricket Board (ECB) put paid to his hopes of making a comeback.
The heart of the matter
Carrying the tradition of the Ashes banter between former cricketers from either side, Johnson took a dig at the English bowlers by tweeting Pietersen and Michael Vaughan, who are part of the same commentary panel, after the side’s 10-wicket loss to Steve Smith’s side.
“Hey @KP24 @MichaelVaughan yesterday were carrying on about the pommy fast bowlers being able to bowl in the 140’s. Ever since they’ve taken the second new ball they’ve been bowling medium pace. They are allowed to bend their backs, and there’s 4 of them,” Johnson said in his first tweet.
Pietersen was taken aback at the jibe, and enquired whether the message was actually compiled by him, or was the work of one of his management.
“Mitchell, is this you or your management tweeting? If it’s you, you not helping yourself! If it’s your management, ask them to stop or sack them!”, Pietersen retaliated.
All this while, Johnson continued to engage with a few riled up English fans.
Johnson finally posted a screenshot of Pietersen’s Twitter handle, showing that the England batsman had blocked the former Australian pacer on the social media platform.
While the verbal slugfest continues between former cricketers from either team, the real action will shift to Adelaide, with the second Test, a day-night game, scheduled to be held on Saturday, December 2.
Banter between players, especially ex-cricketers, is always a jestful exercise that brings additional flavour to the contest on the pitch. While Johnson tried to goad the Englishman with a cunning taunt, the manner in which the South African-born Pietersen took offence is surprising, especially because he is known to be the sort who retaliates in style when thrown muck at.
It will be interesting to see if the duel extends to the second game, or if Pietersen responds at all, to a pumped-up Johnson.