Cook: KP book has ‘tarnished’ our achievements

England captain Alastair Cook says he wants to ‘draw a line’ under the Kevin Pietersen book discussions, saying the past week’s revelations and discussions have tarnished what should have been a golden period for the side.

Pietersen’s autobiography made some big claims, about cliques, bullying, and a too strict coach in Andy Flower, as well as taking aim at a number of players. Cook dismissed the allegations, and said he was saddened by events.

Cook was actually one of the players Pietersen had good words for, and said that Cook was not one for confrontation, though he had a hard task keeping some of his senior players in line. Cook was supposedly a key part of the group that sacked Pietersen earlier this year.

Cook told the BBC: “It’s been a really sad week for cricket. After talking to quite a few of my team-mates on the England team, we have to draw a line under it at some stage and this is a good time to do that.

“I am very proud of that era I have played in; to win three Ashes, to become the best side in the world; to play with some great players. I really only have fond memories of it.

“I am incredibly proud to have contributed in that period. To play under Andrew Strauss, to have played under Andy Flower as coach, I have only got respect for these guys. I do believe that era has been tarnished, and I am sad about that.

“I have known Andy since the Essex dressing room, when he took me under his wing as a player. Obviously, your relationship changes as a head coach and captain and I only have respect for him as a man, and as a coach.

“He was an amazing coach for our side. Chatting to some of the guys about it, they feel the same. A lot of the success was down to his drive and determination to make us a tough England side.”

Cook was also dismayed at the allegations that Matt Prior was a ringleader in the ‘bullying’ of other players, adding: “It’s sad that he could be remembered like that. He’s put everything in to that England shirt and can be incredibly proud.

“Matty is a great man and has been a fantastic servant to English cricket. He has to be remembered as a guy who put his heart and soul on the line for England. The team was all that mattered to him.”