England can beat India without Pietersen, says Test captain Cook
22:32 GMT, 20 September 2012
Alastair Cook has admitted England are a better team with the ostracised Kevin Pietersen but the door for his return remains only slightly ajar.
Speaking formally for the first time about the issue, new Test captain Cook confirmed he had talked to Pietersen and had other meetings on the impasse prior to the squad for this winter’s four-match series in India being announced.
Discussions between Pietersen and ECB chiefs Hugh Morris and David Collier are on-going.
Captain's job: Cook believes England can prosper in India without Pietersen
Cook said: 'The issues have not been resolved which is why he is not available for selection at the moment. Time, hopefully, will be a healer and we will be able to move on.
'It is a given that Kevin — who has proved himself in conditions all around the world — is a world-class player.
'His record suggests that in all forms of the game. He will be missed in that way but it gives another person an opportunity.'
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Cook has first-hand experience of filling big shoes on the subcontinent: he struck a century on debut in Nagpur six years ago after being called in for Marcus Trescothick, who had withdrawn with depression.
'When I got called up people were probably thinking: “Who is this 21-year-old from Essex He will never be as good as Tres.”
'And I wasn’t, but it gives another person an opportunity to go out and do well for England.
'We have to look forward now as a side. We have 16 players getting on the plane and we have to look forward to the two months coming up and not look back.
'The guys coming in have nothing to fear about going out there. We are going out there to win a series.'
Alastair Cook is supporting Buxton’s Less Is Best campaign. To win 2013 Ashes tickets go to: www.buxtonwater.co.uk