Cook - KP exit opens door for youngsters

Thu, 31 May 17:48:35 2012

England's one-day international captain Alastair Cook has called on one of the country's young players to fill the void created by Kevin Pietersen's shock retirement from limited-overs cricket.

Pietersen will continue as a Test specialist after stepping down from both the ODI and Twenty20 forms of the game following discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board earlier this month.

Cook told Sky Sports News: "Clearly when you lose a player of that calibre in a short format where he's proven to be a mighty fine player it is disappointing... The one thing it does is give another person an opportunity to try and get into the one-day team. There's a huge number of talented, young players in the county game."

The 31-year-old Pietersen was man of the tournament when England won the World Twenty20 in the West Indies in 2010 and looked back to his very best in his last two ODI innings, where he struck back-to-back centuries against Pakistan in Dubai.

"In Pakistan when he moved to open the batting we had a really good partnership going on up there," Cook said.

Pietersen was willing to help England defend their T20 trophy in Sri Lanka this autumn, but the ECB decided centrally-contracted players must be available for both limited-overs formats or neither. Hugh Morris, managing director of England cricket, did not hide his frustration at the timing of Pietersen's decision.

Cook said: "Four months to the Twenty20 World Cup with all the planning gone into it, you can understand that. It gives us a limited space to try and change the plans because Kev would have been a huge part of that at the top of the order.

"I can see why they have said that for the timing of that because there's such a short space of time left until we defend the Twenty20 World Cup, which is obviously a peak challenge for Broady (Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad) and the lads.

"But it is an opportunity for somebody else to try and step up and the team will always move on."

Pietersen's absence for the World Twenty20 is particularly relevant given he was the only England batsman to be selected in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League.

 

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