ENGLAND one-day captain Alastair Cook insists the Kevin Pietersen text message saga will not dent his team’s efforts to continue their winning run when they face South Africa today in Cardiff.
The Proteas could knock Cook’s 50-over side off the top of the world rankings with victory in the five-match series, just as they did to Andrew Strauss’s Test outfit earlier this week at Lord’s.
But England are riding the crest of a 10-match winning streak, including a 4-0 thrashing of Australia achieved without Pietersen, who has been axed indefinitely after falling out with Strauss and coach Andy Flower.
“It has happened. Certainly there are a number of issues that will get resolved and have to get resolved. For me personally it’s a sad situation but as a team we need to put it to one side,” said Cook.
“We played some really good cricket at Lord’s even though we didn’t get the result; and to be fair he hasn’t been around the one-day squad for a while. There’s not really that much change here. He [Pietersen] hasn’t been around for a year or so now.”
Pietersen, who is said to have derided Strauss in texts to friends among the South Africa squad, was ably replaced by Ian Bell against Australia, the Warwickshire batsman winning the man of the series title. Cook added: “It is always encouraging when people step up to the plate like that.”