Nick Compton has opened up on the ‘awkwardness’ around Kevin Pietersen‘s reintegration to the England side during their Test tour of India in 2012/13, and that there was “no doubt a segregation in the team”.

Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match analysis, player interviews, and much more.

Speaking to the Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast, Compton provided details of the famous series where England claimed their first Test series win in India since 1984/85. Compton made his debut in the series following the retirement of Andrew Strauss in the preceding summer, which coincided with the Pietersen ‘textgate’ saga. After Pietersen was dropped for the remainder of the summer, he was brought back into the side under Alastair Cook’s leadership for the series in India.

“Kevin Pietersen coming back into the team created a ‘people are on best behaviour,'” said Compton. “Not walking on eggshells but people had been given this smack on the back of the hand and there was this new behaviour of how are we going to go forward. In many ways I think that was a very healthy place to be because some of the old behaviours were at least pushed away and that was a great starting point.

“Kevin Pietersen in that changing room was slightly awkward. I don’t think he made any bones about that and we had some conversations about what had happened. I remember sitting in his room one evening and him talking about Andy Flower and some of the other guys on the team, and I don’t think he was particularly positive about them. But knowing KP, he didn’t really mince his words and in many ways what he said was very matter of fact and I came in and was very neutral in all of this.”

Pietersen averaged 48.28 across that series and played one of his finest ever innings during the second Test in Mumbai. He scored 186 off 233 balls to help England win the game and comeback from a 1-0 deficit after the first Test.

“There was no doubt there was a segregation in the team, there was no doubt certain players weren’t friendly with other players,” said Compton. “But on the pitch there was a high level of skill and people were able to stamp their own individual authority on the match.”

Compton made his Test debut in the first match of the series in which he made scores of nine and 37. His top score of 57 came in the third Test at Eden Gardens, and he kept his place in the side for the following Test series in New Zealand, where he made two centuries. England won the series in India 2-1, winning the second and third Test matches before securing a draw in the fourth.

Cook was England’s leading run-scorer on the tour, hitting three centuries and scoring 586 runs. Another pivotal player in the series was Monty Panesar, who was brought in for the second Test in place of Samit Patel and went on to take 17 wickets in the following three matches.

“Adding Monty into the equation was huge,” said Compton. “I was delighted for Monty, the excitement standing at extra-cover and watching him bowl that way. In sport, it doesn’t matter whatever sport you’re watching, whether it’s golf, tennis or rugby, when you see something special happen in front of you, you almost get a spine-tingling feeling and time stops a little bit.

“I think there was definitely a moment where I could feel myself at extra-cover, my spine was tingling and I was almost brimming with a smile looking around the field going, this is something pretty special. The pace he [Panesar] was bowling, the accuracy, watching his body, you could just feel things had clicked in a way for him.

“I’d actually spent a couple of weeks before that tour in England working with him. The two of us did a little training camp together, so I’d been batting against him while he was bowling. We’d worked very intensely in game scenarios and what have you and to take that through Dubai into India and watch him bamboozle [Sachin] Tendulkar, [MS] Dhoni, [Virender] Sehwag and, not make them look silly because that would be a poor term, but he really did in a way. They were nowhere, it was an incredible piece of bowling and it was just amazing to be there in that moment. It was a special time and I doubt anyone has ever bowled better in Indian conditions.”

Having opened the batting with Cook across the entire series, Compton also credited the simplicity of his opening partner’s approach with allowing him to score as many runs as he did in the series.

“The consummate ease with which he [Cook] played the deliveries, batting at the other end and watching, it was always so simple,” said Compton. “The ball would leave the hand and be on a certain line and he would sweep for one. The ball would come a bit straighter and he would defend. There was never and error in judgement really all the way through that series which I thought was remarkable.

“That’s what was remarkable about Alastair’s career was the simplicity behind everything. And it wasn’t how the Sehwags would do things that were so out of the ordinary and perhaps didn’t have a pattern to it, Alastair’s batting had a real pattern and a simplicity to it.

“I just kept saying, ‘just stay with him’. If I can stay with him then we’ve got to be doing a job here. So for me that gave me an enormous sense of pride that I was standing there with Alastair. There was no doubt the way he went about everything was so easy, he never made a bad decision which was remarkable.”