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Cook: Pietersen talks are ongoing

George Dobell
September 20, 2012 « Monfils marks Metz comeback with win | Chartbeat test »
Alastair Cook believes Kevin Pietersen could still play for England again © Brand-Rapport
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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

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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