Cook: No KP ultimatum

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Cook was heavily criticised in Pietersen’s autobiography, and it was reported last week that he presented new England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss with a ‘him or me’ decision for the Ashes summer ahead.

However, at his and caretaker coach Paul Farbrace’s press conference before the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s, Cook categorically denied this, maintaining the decisions to leave Pietersen out in the cold and to sack coach Peter Moores were taken without any input from him or his team-mates.

He said: “There was no ultimatum. I can deny that. There is nothing we can do about it as players. The decision has been made ahead of us, by Andrew Strauss and Tom Harrison.”

Cook is confident, despite the management upheaval since England returned from the Caribbean this month, that they players are fully focused on the task in hand.

He said: “It’s been an interesting two weeks, but they are the decisions that have happened. We’ve just got to get on with the game now.

“It’s another challenge, to have an interim coach. I think it’s my fourth as a captain over the last two years. There are always challenges to deal with, and it’s great to have Farby (Paul Farbrace) here.”