Cook sees Pietersen’s retirement as a big blow to England’s ODI and Twenty20 campaign
England ODI captain Alastair Cook has voiced his shock and disappointment over Kevin Pietersen’s decision to retire from limited overs cricket, and called on the younger players in the team to fill the void that has been left behind.
Pietersen, is now considered as a Test specialist after retiring from ODI and Twenty20 cricket, following discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Pietersen, who is currently 31, was the Man of the Tournament during England’s victory in the 2010 World Twenty20, and was looking in dazzling form in the last two ODIs he played against Pakistan, where he made back-to-back centuries.
Cook, noted that Pietersen’s sudden decision to retire would have an initial effect on the team, but he also stated that there were many talented players who could step up and take Pietersen’s place.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News, Cook said: “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, 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. It gives them an opportunity to really push on now.”
Pietersen, is hoping to get a chance to represent England in the upcoming World Twenty2o, which will be hosted in Sri Lanka in September, but the ECB have announced that centrally contracted players must be available for both ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.
The managing director of the ECB Hugh Morris, was frustrated at the timing of Pietersen’s decision to retire.
Cook, who understood Morris’ frustration, 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.”
Pietersen’s absence during the upcoming World Twenty20 will be a big blow for England, since he was the only player from the country to be selected to play in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).
When asked about whether he agreed with Pietersen’s sudden decision to retire, Cook said: “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.”