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Cook Responds To KP Claims

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook says this has been a really sad week for cricket
©REUTERS / Action Images

England captain Alastair Cook has responded to claims made in Kevin Pietersen's autobiography, saying they have tarnished a golden spell for the team.

In his book, Pietersen wrote about a 'culture of bullying' within the dressing room with then coach Andy Flower and wicket-keeper Matthew Prior coming in for scathing criticism.

He also criticised Cook for not standing up to Flower and his bosses at the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Speaking to the BBC, Cook said  "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.

"I'm very proud of the era we played in to win three Ashes series and become the best side in the world."

After a breakthrough Ashes win in 2005 before Cook came into the side, England went on to beat Australia in 2009, 2010/11 and 2013, win the ICC World Twenty20 in 2010 and reach the top of the ICC Test rankings in 2011.

Following a 5-0 Ashes series defeat in Australia, the team moved on without both Flower and Pietersen.

Responding to Pietersen's comments on the culture of bullying, and asked specifically about bowlers and Prior swearing at fielders and forcing them to apologise after making mistakes, he added:

"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."

Pietersen was sacked by the ECB earlier this year and his autobiography was released soon after a confidentiality agreement between him and the ECB had expired.

Cook also defended Flower, who Pietersen referred to as 'a mood hoover' in the book, saying that he had nothing but respect for the coach, who he played alongside at Essex before both men became part of the England team.

© Cricket World 2014