Alastair Cook says Kevin Pietersen book has 'tarnished' England era

Alastair Cook denies Kevin Pietersen's bullying claims

England captain Alastair Cook says Kevin Pietersen's autobiography has "tarnished" one of the most successful eras for the national team.

Cook told the BBC he did not recognise "the culture of bullying" Pietersen alleges occurred in the dressing room.

He added he "feels hurt" by the claims in the book, published on Thursday.

"I think it's been a really sad week for cricket. We have to draw a line under it at some stage and this is a good time," the 29-year-old said.

Cook and Pietersen, 34, last played together in January as England were beaten 5-0 in an Ashes series by Australia.

What Pietersen said in his book
On former coach Andy Flower: "He built a regime, he didn't build a team. I've told him this before. I told him during his coaching reign."
On senior players such as James Anderson and Stuart Broad: "The bowlers were given so much power. But these guys ran the dressing room."
On learning of a parody Twitter account of him: "I got told by a senior player that the account was being run from inside our dressing room. I was completely broken, absolutely finished, mentally shot."

The pair had previously featured in a side which reached number one in the world rankings in 2011 under former captain Andrew Strauss, and were also members of Ashes series wins in 2009, 2010-11 and 2013.

"I'm very proud of that era," Cook told BBC Sport's Joe Wilson.

"I really only have fond memories of that, but I do believe it's kind of been tarnished and I'm sad about that."

Pietersen's England career was effectively ended in February when his central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was terminated.

He scored 8,181 runs at an average of 47 in 104 Testsexternal-link and captained England in three Tests.

Responding to the book's claims of bullying within the England dressing room, Cook said: "International cricket is a tough place and, as a team, you're striving for excellence at all times.

"Certainly at some stages those frustrations boiled over more than they should have done, but that was only people who were desperate to succeed and wanting to know the other 10 blokes around them were committed 100% to it also.

"Did it overstep the mark a couple of times? Possibly, but we addressed those issues. That's what happens in teams, but it certainly wasn't a bullying environment as such."

BBC Sport's Joe Wilson on Cook's demeanour
"Alastair Cook may be a calm man, laid back even, retaining composure is a secret of his success. But loyalty is a key part of his identity too. "He spoke to me about Kevin Pietersen's accusations because he feels they tarnish the reputation of an era. "He knows he must retain dignity and objectivity as England captain. But his strength of feeling and personal hurt were unmistakeable when we met. "Most of all, he wants to be England's strong leader in the future, and he can't do that until he tells his version of the recent past."

Cook also failed to accept Pietersen's description of former England coach Andy Flower as "a mood hoover" and someone who was "dour" and "sour".

"I've known Andy since he was a player in the Essex dressing room," Cook said.

"He took me under his wing as a player and then, obviously, your relationship changes as a coach to a player and then to a head coach and a captain.

"I've only got respect for him, as a man, as a coach.

"Chatting to some of the other players about it, they feel the same. A lot of our success was down to his drive and his determination to make us a tough England side."

Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook
Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook last played together for England in January

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