England news April 1, 2014

Pietersen axing 'clearer soon' - Cook


England captain Alastair Cook has spoken for the first time since Kevin Pietersen was sacked and admitted his "frustration" and not yet being able to give a full explanation of the reasons behind the decision.

He said that the factors behind Pietersen being dumped would "become clearer soon" although whether that means the ECB will come forth before the October cut-off that both parties are believed to have previously agreed remains to be seen.

Cook was speaking at the Essex media day where it was expected that he would not discuss England matters, but he did respond when asked about Pietersen as well as Ashley Giles' position as favourite to be the new head coach.

When asked about why Pietersen was not considered part of England's future he said: "I can't answer that question totally at this moment in time which is incredibly frustrating for me," he told Sky Sports News.

"People will say I'm sitting on the fence, but there are a number of reasons that will become clearer soon but you have to respect the decision and the position I'm in at this precise moment in time. I know everyone will keep asking that question until we give the answers but at the moment we just can't and I'd love to talk about something slightly different if possible."

Pressed further before being allowed to move on to another subject he added. "If anyone thinks the decision was taken lightly, without a lot of consideration - a lot of things went into the decision. It was a tough decision, the decisions will be made clearer in due course and you just have to respect that. It is frustrating, but that is the position I'm in at the moment. It is what it is."

Cook was more forthcoming in his praise of Giles and his credentials to take on the head coach role, despite England's first-round exit at the World T20 which finished in the shambolic defeat against Netherlands.

The short list for the role, with candidates due to be interviewed in the next fortnight, is believed to include Nottinghamshire's Mick Newell and the former England coach Peter Moores while the Daily Telegraph has reported that Trevor Bayliss is another candidate.

While 'big name' coaches such as Gary Kirsten and Stephen Fleming have not been attracted to the position, Cook said that England were "lucky to have the candidates we have."

"Gilo has had a tough winter, we have all had a tough winter, he's a very, very good coach, he's a fantastic coach. He's a good man as well," Cook said. "There are a lot of decisions to be made over the next few weeks, and important decisions as well. There are a number of candidates, we are lucky we can choose from a good number of candidates."

Cook does not have an official say in the final decision, but will be consulted and will speak strongly of Giles after their period working together with the one-day side. "It is an important relationship, you do have an input into it," he said. "You saw what a strong relationship Andy Strauss and Andy Flower had. Ashley is one of the favourites because he knows the system well and I've enjoyed working with him."

Cook conceded that the dismantling of England's Test side in Australia had been a surprise: there are potentially seven places up for grabs in the first Test team of the summer against Sri Lanka. The make-up of the 50- and 20-over sides will not escape scrutiny, either.

"That Test side which got us to No. 1, won three Ashes in a row, won't play again - it has broken quicker than any of us imagined. When the side breaks up there are places up for grabs. Any player who scores a lot of runs or take a lot of wickets will be up for selection.

"It's an exciting time for English cricket. It's a time where we have to look forward. It's been an incredibly tough winter, we can't hide from that. There are a huge number of reasons to be optimistic."

For anyone watching England collapse in Chittagong, or Sydney, optimistic probably was not the first word that sprung to mind.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on April 3, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    Slightly off track here but related to the England side.

    Who do we think will open with Cook this year. Something tells me Carberry has played his last game. Would they go back to a player they controversially dropped and who had a decent 2st class season or the guy they moved down the order after one failed series or maybe even move Trott (if playing) or Bell up?

  • Paul on April 2, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    There are a number of very good reasons why Pietersen was sacked, and we'll tell you...as soon as we figure out what they are.

  • John on April 2, 2014, 19:29 GMT

    @wapuser on (April 1, 2014, 19:48 GMT) I don't think Compton is particularly outspoken . I've certainly not read anything that he has badmouthed anyone and he certainly doesn't epitomise flair. Johnny maybe has a little flair but is probably one of the least outspoken guys around the England set up. I think you may be right re flair and being outspoken but not sure those 2 names are the best examples

  • John on April 2, 2014, 19:29 GMT

    I'm as frustrated as the next man at not knowing the whole truth here . I like to think I'm fairly neutral here and won't agree with ECB if I feel they are in the wrong and won't agree with KP if I feel his actions warranted his sacking. But Bob Martin is spot on. We must also bear in mind 2 things 1 - KP himself has not come out with any real protest and you'd kind of think under normal circumstances an outspoken man like KP would speak up if he felt hard done by 2 - Tremlett and Carberry have spoken up for KP and while they both may be correct in what they've seen from him they may not have witnessed what others have witnessed.

    You can look at it 2 ways here

    1 - KP has fallen out with just about every club he's played for 2 - England chiefs/captains don't seem to take criticism too well

  • Bob on April 2, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    If you people complaining about the lack of information coming from Cook and Pietersen kept up to date on the issue instead of merely mouthing off... you'd know that neither of them can divulge the information you keep crying about...... Cook is bound by a confidentailly clause in his contract, and Pietersen is bound to secrecy as part of his termination settlement with the ECB.... So for goodness sake check the facts before you start denigrating people or you begin to look as if you don't have a clue what you're talking about and therefore your comments lack any credibility...

  • Martin on April 2, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    Shame I used to like Cook but I think he must still have jet-lag. Confidence in Giles!!! but yet none in a batsmen who made more runs than him. At this rate Dernbach and Wright will be in the test team soon. The captaincy position needs to be reviewed with all the other upcoming appointments.

  • M on April 2, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    Perhaps the real reason that Cook or any current England player is staying tight-lipped, is due probably due to Confidentiality Agreements and Non-Disclosure Agreements that are either part of their ECB Central Contract or specially re-arranged after this KP situation.

    Whatever comes out in October - it's bound to keep everyone from esteemed journo's to bar-room bores occupied for months!

    Interesting to note, that the two players who have spoken out on this winters England disasters are Carberry and Tremlett...two players who perhaps may not play for England again.

  • Jon on April 2, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    Not sure about Cooks captaincy or judgement. Cant believe Giles really is the best available. Giles is a fantastic coach? Based on performance as county coach, Peter Moores is probably best county coach ever and he was shit as England coach, they are very different roles.

    For example as international coach have to get the best out of highly talented and ego driven rich superstars, such as KP. Its not so much about making the best out of journeymen who need the job to pay the bills.

    However Cook is one hell of Batsman despite clear technical flaws.

  • Cricinfouser on April 2, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    When will we hear from the other members of the team - the ones that seem to be too frightened to talk! Moreover, the fact that they are too frighten to talk tells me everything about the team ethos and environment.

    It looks likes your decision to axe KP has made the team ethos worse not better

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    The more time goes on with no adequate explanation offered, the more difficult it becomes to "respect the decision taken", Alastair. Especially when one of your inner circle (Stuart Broad, the T20 captain) puts the absence of Kevin Pietersen as one of the reasons for the team's poor performance at the T20 world cup. We also have the likes of Michael Carberry going out of their way to say how helpful Pietersen was, and even Graeme Swann (who is no Pietersen fan) said his attitude after his return was exemplary. I'm not privy to the inner workings of the England team, but the available evidence from those who are doesn't back up your version of events Alastair.

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