Alastair Cook: I gave no Kevin Pietersen ultimatum

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at Lord's
There was no ultimatum - Cook
First Test: England v New Zealand
Venue: Lord's Dates: 21-25 May Start time: 11:00 BST Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles, BBC Sport app & BBC iPlayer Radio app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobile devices

England captain Alastair Cook says he did not issue an ultimatum over the selection of Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen has been told he will not be considered for selection this summer, with reports suggesting Cook would have resigned had the batsman been recalled.

"There was no ultimatum on KP, I don't know where that came from," said Cook.

"The players weren't consulted and I want it to be that way. I just have to go out there and try to win games of cricket for England."

Speaking before the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's on Thursday, opening batsman Cook also said:

  • He agrees with the decision not to consider Pietersen for selection
  • It is "irrelevant" whether or not he is prepared to play with his former team-mate
  • That he "does not know why he should keep answering questions" about Pietersen, because he was not part of the latest decision to disregard the Surrey batsman

Pietersen was given hope of an international recall by new England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves, only for director of cricket Andrew Strauss to say the 34-year-old would not be selected because of "trust issues".

"That was a decision taken by Straussy and chief executive Tom Harrison," added Cook, 30. "We have got to start looking forward because the story has been put to bed by the ECB.

"They have decided the direction in which they want English cricket to go. I'm responsible for the team out on the field and I have to focus on that."

Cook was part of the initial decision to end Pietersen's international career in February 2014, but repeatedly asserted he not been involved in the most recent disregarding of England's highest runscorer.

However, despite endorsing Pietersen's non-selection, Cook would not explain why he was in favour of not having the South Africa-born player in his team.

"This has gone on for 15 months and we have to start looking forward," he said. "All the external stuff that has happened over the last 10 days isn't important.

"What is important is how we play our cricket. That is all I can focus on. It's irrelevant as to whether I can play with him because it's not a decision that I have to make."