Cook: ECB left me out to dry over KP affair

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Alastair Cook felt like he was "left out to dry" by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) when it came to Kevin Pietersen's controversial axing.

Pietersen's international career was brought to an abrupt end in February 2014 when, in the wake of a 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia, a decision was made to move forward without the flamboyant batsman.

Cook, who stepped down as England's Test captain on Monday, bore heavy criticism for some time from those opposed to Pietersen's exclusion.

In an interview with Nasser Hussain for Sky Sports, Cook said: "It was obviously a big part of my captaincy. I felt like it wasn't handled particularly well by the ECB.

"I know I was the lightning rod for it, every person thought it was my decision. I felt I bore the brunt of that, unfairly in my personal opinion.

"As much power as you get as England captain, you don't have the ultimate decision on that sort of thing. Yes, I was part of the decision making, as six or seven other people were. I didn't actually have that final trigger and I felt as if I was the only person who made that decision.

"I felt a little bit let down by the ECB by that one period where they kind of left me out to dry a little bit. But that's all gone now. It's part and parcel of the challenge of being captain.

"I can't say now I have any regrets. I've tried, whether I got it right or wrong, to do what was the best for English cricket at that time."

Cook, who otherwise reflects positively on his tenure as skipper, added: "The decision was what we thought was the best for English cricket. The fallout was not very good for English cricket. It was not great to see and be part of it when it was all over the front and back pages and social media like it was.

"The responsibility as a captain and a player is to get cricket in the papers and in the public for the right reasons, but for that six months it kind of wasn't.

"But since Straussy [England director of cricket Andrew Strauss] has come on board and made the final decision again [confirming there would be no return for Pietersen], it did settle down."