Former England captain Michael Vaughan on Friday slammed Jonny Bairstow for ‘negative, pathetic mindset’ as the World Cup hosts prepare to face India at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Pietersen said current skipper Eoin Morgan was ‘scared’ in their 64-run thumping at the hands of Australia, while Bairstow was played a radio clip of Vaughan where the former England captain feared ‘England could be heading for their worst World Cup’.
Morgan's side now face a daunting task to make it to the semi-finals, with matches left against tough sides like India and New Zealand.
"People were waiting for us to fail," said Bairstow. "They are not willing us on to win, in many ways, they are waiting for you to get that loss, so they can jump on your throat.
"It's a typical English thing to do, in every sport."
But Vaughan hit back at Bairstow’s comments, saying the team had massive support.
"How wrong can @jbairstow21 be," Vaughan posted on his Instagram account.
"Never has England team had so much support but it's you and your team that has disappointed Jonny ..
"WIN 2 games and you are in the semis .. With this negative, pathetic mindset I am concerned though.. it’s not the media’s fault you have lost 3 games .. !!!"
England entered the competition as favourites following their incredible transition in the ODIs but their destructive batting line-up has struggled to make an impact on bowling friendly wickets.