Kevin Pietersen blasts 'selfish' Alastair Cook for talking down England's chances of World Cup glory

Cook's former England team-mate has joined the chorus of criticism aimed at the captain ahead of the World Cup

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen has labelled Alastair Cook as "selfish" for not talking up England's chances of winning the World Cup.

The former England batsman used his Daily Telegraph column to add his voice to the growing number of former players questioning Cook's leadership of the one-day side.

England may have beaten India by 41 runs on Friday to avoid a series whitewash, but Pietersen is still frustrated by what he sees as a negative attitude in the one-day set up.

"I think it is selfish that the captain is not talking positively about winning the World Cup," he said.

"In Alastair Cook's own words it is 'far fetched' to believe we can win the tournament. I just do not buy that. It is also nonsense to think we do not have time to make changes that could transform England's chances."

Pietersen revealed that the lack of positivity going into next year's tournament is especially galling after the Ashes schedule was amended to improve England's chances.

"There is a theory the England and Wales Cricket Board are reluctant to remove Cook as captain of the one-day team because it might destabilise the camp ahead of next year's Ashes," he added. "That is hard to swallow for those of us who endured back-to-back Ashes campaigns just so this winter could be dedicated to one-day cricket in the lead-up to the World Cup."

Alastair-Cook.jpg
Cook has previously shrugged off criticism from Pietersen

Although Cook came through similar doubts about his suitability to lead the Test side earlier this summer, Pietersen believes his style fundamentally does not fit in with what is required in the shorter form of the game.

The 34-year-old, who also suggested English stars should spend time in the IPL to hone their limited overs skills, has joined Graeme Swann and Michael Vaughan in suggesting he should just focus on the Tests.

He said: "This is not a witch-hunt against Cook. But he would gain a lot of respect if he admitted he is not the right man to open the batting and captain the one-day team, and decided he was going to concentrate all his efforts on winning back the Ashes."

PA

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