England rebuilding tarnished reputation, says Cook
LONDON – English cricket’s reputation has taken a “hammering” over the last 18 months but better times lie in wait following some big changes, captain Alastair Cook said on Wednesday.
England have hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons following a string of poor performances, the sacking of coach Peter Moores, and the fallout from the decision not to recall batsman Kevin Pietersen.
But with a new cricket director, coach and chairman in place, Cook believes England head into a two-test series against New Zealand in a much healthier state.
“I absolutely understand that cricket has taken hammering over the past 18 months,” Cook told a news conference ahead of Thursday’s opening test match at Lord’s.
“There has been a real big change, but we’re now focussing on playing. It’s a really exciting time.
“Everyone who follows the England cricket team wants us to be successful. We know the pressure but it’s a great pressure.”
New cricket director Andrew Strauss sacked coach Moores earlier this month and Paul Farbrace will lead England against the Kiwis before a permanent coach is appointed.
“It was a tough call and we all feel for Peter Moores,” Cook said. “He was a players’ coach, a guy who right on the pulse.
“Getting the best out of people was his real strength. As a player and captain I loved my time with Mooresy.”
Former Ashes-winning captain Strauss also decided that Pietersen, who was sacked 15 months ago following the 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia, would not be recalled despite scoring a career-best 355 not out for Surrey.
Pietersen’s hopes of returning to the international arena had been raised after new EnglishCricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves suggested in March that the South African-born batsman would be considered if he scored a lot of runs in county cricket.
Cook denied media reports that he had issued the ECB with an ultimatum that he would resign as captain if Pietersen was recalled.
“There was no ultimatum,” he said. “Over 15 months, the story hasn’t gone away.
“The decision was made without the players, we just have to play. The players weren’t consulted on Pietersen.
“The story has been put to bed by the ECB. I’m responsible for the team on the field. We have to focus on that.” –Reuters