England one-day captain Cook reeling from Pietersen blow
17:55 GMT, 31 May 2012
17:55 GMT, 31 May 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 the
Pietersen will continue as a Test
specialist after stepping down from both the ODI and Twenty20 forms of
the game on Thursday following discussions with the England and Wales Cricket
Board earlier this month.
Walking away: Kevin Pietersen has retired from limited overs cricket
The 31-year-old 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.
Cook could not deny the loss of Pietersen would be an initial blow to the England set-up, but claimed there was enough talented players in the country to make the step up to international cricket.
'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,' Cook told Sky Sports News.
'In Pakistan when he moved to open the batting we had a really good partnership going on up there.
'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 – people like Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler.
Best foot forward: KP will now focus on the Test form of the game
'It gives them an opportunity to really push on now.'
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 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.'
Brave face: Captain Alastair Cook
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.
Asked whether he agreed with Pietersen's decision, Cook added: 'He's got a lot to offer the one-day team, but clearly every player's got the right to decide when to retire and Kev chose this moment to do it.
'The schedule is what it is. We do play a lot of cricket but we are very privileged to play for England.
'Not many people can say they have played for England and it's a great position to be in.
'Kev's been playing since 2005, he is slightly older than me, so he knows his own mind and body.
'It's not really fair for me to comment on, you'll have to hear from Kev.'