The lost Chennai Test against India in December seems to have been the "tipping point" for England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen in his relationship with head coach Peter Moores, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
"Embarrassed tactically in failing to defend a target of 387, he felt help was not forthcoming enough. At some later stage in India it appears he let the relevant people know that he wanted Moores out," the Sunday Telegraph reported.
The British media has reported over the past week that differences between the two men are "irreconcilable" and that Pietersen wants Moores replaced before the team leaves on a tour of the West Indies January 21.
Former Test captain Michael Vaughan's omission from the West Indies tour party, after Pietersen expressly asked for his inclusion, was also a factor, the paper said.
"There were even rumours last week that Moores had already been sacked. He has not. And he is standing firm. He will not resign," the Sunday Telegraph said, adding: "This really is a mess."
According to the report, Pietersen may favour Kent coach Graham Ford, whom he knew in South Africa, to replace Moores.
However, another report in the same paper said former Test spinner Ashley Giles is being tipped as a temporary replacement.
With England having lost seven and drawn one of their last eight competitive matches and the crucial Ashes series against Australia only six months away, "the likeliest outcome is that Moores will not be coach when England fly to the West Indies on Jan 21," said the report written by Wisden editor Scyld Berry.
"...Moores is not the reader of strategies, the analyser of opponents and the author of ideas that Pietersen needs," Berry wrote.
The report said the England and Wales Cricket Board had rejected the idea of sending a coach-less team to the West Indies. Unlike a similar Indian experiment for the team touring England in 2007, Pietersen did not have the experience of Rahul Dravid, whose team was "more mature than England are now".
The report said Giles is "an Ashes winner", England selector, a member of the last England team to win in the West Indies, and someone who has had a lengthy playing relationship with Pietersen but that he lacks coaching experience.