Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen have a chat ahead of the Boxing Day Test last year. Photo: Wayne Taylor
Alastair Cook has described the sacking of Kevin Pietersen as a "brave call" and revealed his frustration at being gagged by a confidentiality clause.
Cook also pleaded for patience from England supporters wanting answers over why Pietersen's England career was ended in February.
A legal agreement between Pietersen and the England and Wales Cricket Board prevents either from divulging any details, a situation that weakens Cook and has helped portray the sacked player as the victim.
It was originally thought full disclosure would be made in October but it is now believed it could be earlier. When it does happen, England fans will be able to make up their minds and it is then that Cook believes his decision will be fully understood.
"There will be a time in the not-too-distant future when I can give you the whole side of my story but I hope you can bear with that a little longer," he said. "Of course you think back and ask if it was the right decision given all that was going on but in my mind, and alongside the ECB, I know it is the right decision. It was a brave call and people have been talking as if it just happened overnight.
"The last thing we wanted to do was make Kevin a scapegoat for what happened in Australia. That is not what it was about at all. But at some time you have to say this is what we want going forward and that was the decision we made. For people to say it was a decision made on a toss of a coin is wrong and I think very disrespectful because a lot of effort went into getting him back in the side in the first place in 2012 and a lot of effort and thought went into the decision that has been made now.
"I understand the reasons why the ECB has decided to stay quiet but it's frustrating. Things will become clear in a little time now. People just have to be patient."
When asked if it would be a better dressing room without Pietersen, Cook replied: "Moving forward, that will be the way. We all know how important team culture and unity are. We are in a results-driven business but sometimes you have to get the basics in place first. I know it is frustrating to people, and it is to me too, that we have not put our side of the story but it will happen."
Such is the sensitivity around England that the ECB originally prevented Cook from speaking yesterday at Essex's pre-season press call. But Cook persuaded the board to allow him to talk, knowing hiding away would only make matters worse.
There have been reports the ECB has a four-page dossier on Pietersen's misdemeanours in Australia but so far publicly he has received support from fellow players on the tour.
Chris Tremlett stood up for his Surrey team-mate last week and Michael Carberry said he could not understand the decision during an interview on Tuesday during which he took a swipe at the man-management skills of Ashley Giles just 24 hours after England's humiliating defeat to Holland at the World Twenty20.
Giles is one of four candidates, along with Australian Trevor Bayliss, Lancashire coach Peter Moores and Mick Newell, of Nottinghamshire, who will be interviewed over the next two weeks for the vacant head-coach role. Cook will have an input into the process but a final decision will be made by Paul Downton, the managing director.
Cook appeared to endorse Giles, valuable support for the embattled one-day coach after the Holland defeat followed a poor winter.
"One result doesn't make anyone a bad coach or a bad player. I've really enjoyed working with Ashley and I think he's done a good job in tough circumstances in that he's never had his first-choice side. Players enjoy working under him and he's never been the boss, if that makes sense.
"He's always had to work under Andy Flower and that's the relationship we all knew. He will have his way of doing things and the other candidates will have their way so whoever gets the job has a great opportunity to help turn round this England side. It won't happen overnight but hopefully we'll get there in the end."
First and foremost for Cook is the birth of his first child over the next few days before returning to cricket on Monday against Cambridge University at Fenner's. He will play the first four rounds of the County Championship as one of several England senior players searching for personal form after a horrible winter.
"Of course it's a big summer, it's a big summer for English cricket. It's an exciting time to be involved. We've had a huge amount of success but now we've had an incredibly tough winter. You can't hide behind that. We haven't been playing anywhere near as well as we have been playing and we've lost a big core of the side, a coach and some experienced senior players," he said.
"It's not going to be a quick fix. It won't happen overnight. It will take a big effort from the players and the coaching staff and we don't know what our best XI is any more. For a few years we were very confident with what our best team was because the guys were performing and we were having good results.
"There's a lot of places up for grabs now and that should be an exciting time for a lot of players thinking that performances now could earn them an England shirt."
The Telegraph, London