England's Pietersen dilemma September 6, 2012

Cook turns attention to Pietersen


Alastair Cook will turn his attention to being involved in deciding the future of Kevin Pietersen over the coming days after his international season drew to a close with the final ODI against South Africa.

At the moment, Cook is still due to play for Essex in their final Championship match of the summer against Yorkshire but, for the next month, hands the captaincy of England over to Stuart Broad for the Twenty20 series against South Africa followed by the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Before that tournament starts it is expected that England will announce their Test squad for the series against India, which starts in mid-November, rather than wait until the team returns from Sri Lanka. The most pressing issue for Cook is the situation involving Pietersen and whether he will be welcomed back into the fold after his very public issues over the summer.

Pietersen is believed to have already met with Andy Flower, the team director, to start the process of trying to solve the stand-off with further talks expected to be held shortly, which is when Cook, who replaced Andrew Strauss as Test captain last week, is likely to become involved.

"I haven't really been thinking about it too much, with the one-day series on," Cook said after the final ODI at Trent Bridge. "Over the next couple of weeks, it's certainly an issue which we as the ECB will have to get resolved. It is a situation which does need to get resolved. There is stuff which needs to be talked about behind closed doors. That will happen."

Flower took a break for the deciding one-day international and is due to link back up with squad ahead of the first Twenty20 international in Durham on Friday. With Cook not involved in the T20I set-up, and the final round of Championship matches taking place next week, there is precious little time for everyone to get round a table together with Pietersen before England fly out to Sri Lanka next Thursday.

Although Pietersen is the dominant subject in the current discussions he will not be the only issue Cook and Flower will need to ponder ahead of the daunting prospect of four Tests in six weeks in India, although Cook is fairly sure what form he wants the squad to take. "I'm pretty clear," he said. "Over the next few days we have to sit down."

Jonathan Trott is expected to be fit despite being diagnosed with a broken finger in his right hand, which has ruled him out for three to four weeks. However, another issue confronting Cook, Flower and the selectors is the likely absence of Ian Bell from the Mumbai Test, with his wife due to give birth.

That is in addition to having to fill the vacancy at the top of the order left by Strauss' retirement. A number of players have been mentioned - Nick Compton, Michael Carberry and Joe Root most strongly - plus the option of moving either Trott or Bell up the order.

Jonny Bairstow can expect to be included after his successful return to the team while James Taylor, who made his debut at Headingley, will also be in the mix for a middle-order spot. Ravi Bopara, though, could well find his awful one-day series with the bat against South Africa has put paid to his Test aspirations, although having an Essex team-mate as captain could yet prove useful.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on September 9, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    @ Jose Puliampatta on (September 08 2012, 14:42 PM GMT) Are we doing past players too? I presume so with Ahktar's inclusion. In which case how about Gilchrist and Marshall? And would Viv not be in that side? If we're just doing recent past then Gilchrist who still does the IPL and maybe Steyn? I know Steyn may not be thee quickest but I'd say he's be intimidating enough. Would also add a bit of control to the bowling

  • Andrew on September 9, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta - for bowlers, I'd suggest Sylvestor Clarke or Lenny Pascoe, & for a batsmen I'd probably suggest Arjuna Ranatunga as captain!

  • Safdar on September 8, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    This is KP committed stuff is nonsense. KP has always done his best, that should be apparent from his recent match-winning and match-saving performances. The ECB should accept the IPL and give the players a chance to earn fame and fortune playing in it. It's unreasonable to expect players to be so committed that they give up that much for the England cause.

  • Dummy4 on September 8, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    @Hayden Field. Your comment provoked me to form a "really explosive" team: 1.Gayle 2. Ryder 3. KP 4.Symmonds 5. Afridi 6.Bhajji 7. Swann 8.Sreeshant. 9. Shoaib Akthar. I need two more: One batsman and a Wicket keeper. Any suggestions? John Buchanan could be the Manager and Greg Chappel , the coach. Lalit Mody will be commissioned to come up with a good Business Model". Sponsors: Dynamite-Nobel Group from Europe. All suggestions for one batsman & WK are welcome. One Dynamite stick will be given as gift to all, who may suggest "good" names. If there are enough names to be included, we could even form a full fledged 15 man squad.

  • steve on September 8, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    Those who are pro KP and those who are anti share one thing in common - no one actually knows everything that has been said and done.

    Whether one likes it or not it's down to the management with input from the captain and senior professionals to determine the best course of action, posters to this forum have no 'skin in the game' - if they get things wrong they lose nothing and go on with their next campaign.

    If on the other hand they were to lose their access to all cricket forums, would they be so cavalier with their opinions ? I think not.

    If KP does come back it will be interesting to see just how long he stays 'committed' because for sure if his ego or advisers have another 'relapse' it would definitely be the last chance.

  • John on September 8, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    @baranasai on (September 08 2012, 03:27 AM GMT) - I agree. If KP patches things up with those he's offended then it certainly should be resolved. Although this is a different kind of issue , it kind of mirrors Man City/Tevez and when Tevez realised that Man City weren't bowing down to him and that the grass wasn't greener elsewhere , he came back and is playing well again. Also we're not hearing him complaining of wanting to be nearer his wife and kids these days

  • Kevin on September 8, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    I think texts, twitters, etc... should be completely ignored by everyone including the media. Just people thinking out loud. If every past player who uttered a careless word and upset someone had been suspended we wouldn't have a game. Treat it for what it is, move on, concentrate on playing the game, and let people blow off steam occasionally. That goes for the royal family too. So how about Harry as opening batsman for England?

  • subra on September 8, 2012, 3:27 GMT

    It is like football.Some times big players make blunders by talking ill about the manager and his captain etc.However if he accepts his responsibilty and apolgises for his stupidity The mangement will punish him for few matches but not complerely ban him for the future ganes, Kevin no doubt made a mistake( let us not discuss the issues-the other party is very naive in this) He sat out for a series but he should be given a chance again.He has done lot for England for his entire career he has played for England /after all the years it is not right to dump him like this. He has been taught a lesson and that is where it should stop/No permanent red card for Kevin as this will be a big loss to English cricket let alone Kevins loss

  • Dummy4 on September 8, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    So a young Pakistani bolwer bowls his heart out and wins his team a match but intentionally bowls 2 no-balls and is banned for two years as a consequence. Meanwhile an English batsmen gives inside team information to his opposition about how to dismiss a crucial member of his batting line up and there is no word at all about him getting banned for even one match. How ludicrous. Peterson should be banned, Mohammed Amir has paid his price, his ban should be overturned now.

  • Dummy4 on September 8, 2012, 0:50 GMT

    From a New Zealand point of view - Kevin is being treated in the same manner as Jesse Ryder. Two players with extreme talent, but have issues both inside and outside of cricket.

    I believe the English and New Zealand cricket boards need to work with these two players.

    For anyone who can say they cricket is a team sport - there is a lot to do with individual talent. These guys are so under the spotliight by media, and fans - not to mention how players are so regulated to their behaviour off and on the field. England has kept a lot of the KP issue quiet...

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