Kevin Pietersen: Alastair Cook should resign as England captain

Third Test: England v India, Ageas Bowl

Dates: 27-31 July Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website, live radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Kevin Pietersen says Alastair Cook should resign as England captain because he does "not have the tactical brain to lead the side".

Cook, 29, has overseen seven defeats in the past nine Tests and failed to make a hundred in 27 innings.

Former England batsman Pietersen, 34, says "only politics are keeping Cook in a job" as it would be "yet another PR disaster" if he were to be sacked.

In his Daily Telegraph column,  he suggests Ian Bell as Cook's successor.

Responding to Pietersen's comments, Cook told BBC Sport: "Everyone is entitled to their view and I can't let it get to me. It is a tough job when you don't win and when you don't score runs it's tougher."

Cook's record as England Test captain

*as stand-in captain for Andrew Strauss

2010: v Bangladesh (away)*

Won 2-0 (two Tests)

2012-13: v India (a)

Won 2-1 (four Tests)

2013: v New Zealand (a)

Drew 0-0 (three Tests)

2013: v New Zealand (home)

Won 2-0 (two Tests)

2013: v Australia (h)

Won 3-0 (five Tests)

2013: v Australia (a)

Lost 5-0 (five Tests)

2014: v Sri Lanka (h)

Lost 1-0 (two Tests)

2014: v India (h)

Losing 1-0 (after two Tests of five-match series)

Former England captains Michael Vaughan has called for Eoin Morgan to replace Cook as skipper, while ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said Cook is too "stubborn" to quit.

Cook added: "Everyone is piling in a little, but it will give me more satisfaction if we win and I score some runs.

"I'm not in it for sympathy, but to win cricket games for England."

Pietersen, who was sacked by England in February, also wrote:

  • Cook needs people around him with international experience, which England coach Peter Moores lacks
  • He should welcome input from the likes of former captains Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain and ex-Australia spinner Shane Warne
  • Yorkshire's Joe Root has the character to become captain but, at 23, is too young

Pietersen, England's all-time leading run-scorer, said: "Alastair Cook is enduring an experience I would not wish on my worst enemy, but he should do what is right for England and resign the captaincy."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan

Read more from Vaughan

"It is probably the right thing for Cook, the person, to be taken away from the England captaincy. Eoin Morgan has fresh eyes, a new approach. It can't be any worse."

He was also critical of Cook's batting technique and recommended he seek the assistance of Surrey head coach Graham Ford, to whom Pietersen turned during a poor run of form.

"He could have another 10 years left but his batting needs emergency help and he needs to speak to someone away from the England set-up," said Pietersen, who led England in three of his 104 Tests before resigning in 2009.

"Only politics are keeping Cook in a job because the England and Wales Cricket Board backed him so much that it would be yet another PR disaster if it sacked him now.

"But the ECB needs his runs back so a big decision has to be made. Forget the bad headlines for once."

Ahead of the third Test against India, which starts at Southampton on Sunday, Pietersen said Warwickshire's Bell, 32, "has a good tactical brain" and "could grow" into the captaincy.