England news September 20, 2012

Pietersen talks ongoing - Cook


Alastair Cook has revealed that meetings between Kevin Pietersen and the England management will continue during the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka but was unable to provide any hopes of an immediate reconciliation between the player and the ECB.

England will begin their attempt to retain the World T20 title, without the services of Pietersen, on Friday. David Collier, the ECB chief executive, and Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, are both in the country, where Pietersen is working as a television summariser.

Pietersen was not considered for selection for the Test tour of India after it emerged that there was a breakdown in trust and respect between him and the rest of the team and Cook, England's new Test captain, admitted that the team would miss his batting.

"Time is a great healer," said Cook, who sits on the selection panel but does not have a vote. "Kevin has proved in all conditions around the world that he is a world-class player. He will be missed. It's a sad circumstance.

"I did have a meeting with Kev. Clearly the issues haven't been resolved and that is why he is not available for selection at the moment. Time, hopefully, will be a healer and we'll be able to move on. At the present time, though, the issues haven't been resolved so he can't be selected.

"Meetings are still going on in Sri Lanka at the moment. Hugh Morris and David Collier are out there. But we're trying to conduct this behind closed doors so we can get the best possible outcome for the English cricket team. It's sad that this has happened and that we're not taking Kevin to India, but that is the reality.

"We are trying to do what is best for English cricket. There is nothing else in our minds. We always try and do that and we are trying to resolve these issues.

"I think he can play for England again, certainly, but there are still issues to be resolved and until that happens he is unavailable."

Pietersen is not the only familiar face missing from the India tour squad. England are also without Andrew Strauss who, after 7,000 Test runs and 21 centuries, has retired. Bearing in mind that England are also likely to be without Ian Bell for at least one Test, as he returns to England to be with his wife, who is expecting their first child in late November, and England may have to field a very inexperienced batting line-up. But it is perhaps Strauss who Cook will miss most.

"I have spoken to Straussy and I will more over the coming months and years," Cook said. "There will be times when I pick up the phone to him, so I hope he doesn't just let it go to answerphone! I feel I have a really good relationship with Straussy. He was the best captain I played under in the way he led men. If I can lead men like he did, I'll be very happy.

"He was so genuine in what he said. He just commanded respect in what he said. When he spoke, people listened. He would never expect anyone to do anything he wouldn't do. He was just a bloody fine man.

"The best advice I could give the new players is that the game doesn't change. Sometimes people pull on the England shirt and think you have to play a different way. You don't. I know we have a challenge in front of us in India. We know they have an amazing home record. But I'm not leading a team out there to lose. We're going out there to win. We've nothing to fear. If we play as well as we can, I can see no reason why we can't win."

Alastair Cook is supporting Buxton's Less Is Best campaign. Pledge to lessen your environmental impact and win 2013 Ashes tickets at www.buxtonwater.co.uk

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alex on September 22, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    WIthout DRS England have no chance in India. Simply because Dhoni is like python in india wait for prey to show up at right time. he has lots patience. That said if England can draw the game if they bat well. Trott is the key for england. As long as he bats england will be in driver seat. England will know its different to bat india because energy in crowd supports india. You feel alien. Just like indians felt they were in alien conditions in England so much negativity.

  • John on September 21, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (September 21 2012, 11:10 AM GMT) I still think a cooling off period would be good if we want KP to play again. I'm not sure when the T20/ODI party is named but I'd rather he missed that and increase the chances of him coming back for England again than the 2 parties try to rush negotiations and it all fall apart to a point of no return.

  • John on September 21, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    @maximum6 on (September 21 2012, 12:10 PM GMT) They probably won't post my comment but on what basis do you say that the decision on KP returning/not returning is purely based on the so called clique? Could it not be because KP is being stubborn about certain conditions? Please also remember that the reason for KPs exclusion in the 1st place was for derogatory texts which were A- about Strauss who is nothing to do with the so called clique and B - The texts were sent to members of their then current opponents SA which surely makes the issue a whole lot more serious.

  • Michael on September 21, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    the idea of trying to achieve dressing room harmony is frankly ludicrous unless it is with your best players and like at school, work, in a family, a varied assortment of individual just have to make it work, because they are there for profeesional sports, not to have an uproarously amusing and jolly time. If they do, so be it. A lot of players have not clicked or rahter have quite simply loathed one another. it is unfortunate here that in this hitech too much has come out, and social media is a perfect vehicle for ramping up rows etc. Cook should have to know how to deal with every player, but he does not have to ask the bowlers for permission as to who he picks as batsmen. England unfortunately seems cliquey which is a big pain. People should just keep it to themselves and not make everyone else subscribe to the raison d'etre of a friendship. Obviously yoyur best players play. End of story. Hating your spin partner for instance does not seem to affect performance.

  • John on September 21, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    @JG2704 on (September 21 2012, 09:18 AM GMT), I wouldn't necessarily discount the possibility of KP playing in the limited-overs legs of that India tour. If that is to happen then there is a bit of urgency in getting the issue resolved. If KP is considered already to be out of contention for those series too then I'd be inclined to agree with you, but I don't think that that is the case.

  • John on September 21, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    @ Anand Singh on (September 20 2012, 19:42 PM GMT) On what basis do you think that Strauss's influence would hinder KP's return? Strauss said on Sky text (and the story is probably still there) that KP has apologised to him and from what little he said he seemed to have made his peace with KP. Strauss comes across as a person who won't hold a grudge and I'd honestly say that Strauss being involved in negotiations would actually help KP get back into the set up.

  • Cricket on September 21, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    it's good to hear cook who seems like a level headed guy say that the door is open for kp. but we constantly hear from all parties that they want discussions to take place behind closed doors and then go on to talk about the issue albeit in general terms such. why not just adopt a 'nothing to say' attitude until it's been resolved. whilst kp is their best batsmen more so for his experience of indian conditions through ipl, this is one of the weakest indian teams for quite a while and that's saying something with only kohli who been has superb form in the last year being the only positive. i don't think eng's batters will be too worried about the spinners because currently they're nowhere near kumble class or can do what ajmal did in the uae. i'd like to see turning pitches to give indian spinners as much assistance as possible but that would also favour panesar possible more than swann. if eng do play 2 spinners it'll interesting to see who their 2 quicks will be.

  • david on September 21, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    KK_cricket. KP has not got a ecb central contract. so he can go and play in whatever competition he wants. but i will tell you this. if and its a big if. if hes selected for england again god forbid, i bet he put england 1st, i would put my pension on it. remind me on in june when that comes about.

  • david on September 21, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    phoenixsteve the old adage you can only pick from the players available. the T20 if it does poorly in SL is not the same issue as a test series in india. i have not heard a eng player or official that has positive opinions on KP for the incident that got him benched. i can understand your comment if say he was not selected purely on say age,form, whatever. but its the same as a ban he just cannot be considered plain and simple.so saying if only we had picked whoever and the result would be different. never in my 40 odd years of watching cricket have i heard that said, other than supporters. unlike most teams england have always put what it thinks is the right thing to do. that is not only on the sports fields but in life.

  • Jem on September 21, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    "A bloody fine man." The same can be said of Cook himself. I have slight doubts about him as a captain, simply because he still appears to be so young and perhaps such a nice guy that certain players (like KP perhaps?) will think they can take advantage of that. It would be interesting to know the true thoughts of some of the senior players in the dressing room about having Cook as captain. Hopefully the mental strength that has served him so well as a batsman, often in the most trying of circumstances, can be replicated in his captaincy. Encouragingly, you do get the impression that if anyone can bring KP back into the fold, it could be the calm and thoroughly likeable Mr Cook.

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