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Cook insists he issued no ultimatum over Pietersen

Cook was heavily criticised by his fellow record-breaking batsman in Pietersen's autobiography. Photo: PA

Test captain Alastair Cook insists he issued "no ultimatum" to England's management team before they decided to continue Kevin Pietersen's international exile.

Cook was heavily criticised by his fellow record-breaking batsman in Pietersen's autobiography, and it was reported last week that he presented new England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss with a 'him or me' decision for the Ashes summer ahead.

However, at his and caretaker coach Paul Farbrace's press conference before the first Investec Test against New Zealand at Lord's, Cook categorically denied any such conversation took place.

Pietersen is out in the cold. Credit: PA

Cook said that Strauss, and ECB chief executive Tom Harrison, decided to leave Pietersen out in the cold and to sack coach Peter Moores without any input from him or his team-mates.

"There was no ultimatum. I can deny that," said Cook.

"There is nothing we can do about it as players. The decision has been made ahead of us, by Andrew Strauss and Tom Harrison."

Cook is confident, despite the management upheaval since England returned from the drawn Test series in the Caribbean this month, that he is ready to focus on getting the better of the Kiwis.

"It's been an interesting two weeks," added Cook.

"But they are the decisions that have happened. We've just got to get on with the game now.

"It's another challenge, to have an interim coach. I think it's my fourth as a captain over the last two years.

"There are always challenges to deal with, and it's great to have Farby here."