Cook welcomes Pietersen England return

Salisbury Journal: Alastair Cook is looking forward to having Kevin Pietersen back in the England side Alastair Cook is looking forward to having Kevin Pietersen back in the England side

New England Test captain Alistair Cook has praised the contrition of Kevin Pietersen as he prepares to welcome the batsman back into his squad.

The South Africa-born Pietersen will return to the England fold during the forthcoming tour of India, having resolved his issues with both the England and Wales Cricket Board and his team-mates following a public fall-out during the latter days of Andrew Strauss' reign as captain.

"I think it's been a difficult two months for us as an England side, but as captain the best possible outcome is that we have a world-class player back in the team," Cook told a media conference at Lord's. "Kevin is very contrite and desperate to be back playing and scoring runs for England. As captain that's all I want."

Cook added that the Surrey player is available for the first Test, with no further bridge-building to be done, adding: "I'm sure he's desperate to pull on the England shirt."

It had been reported that some sections of the England dressing room would have issues with Pietersen, but Cook does not believe that is the case.

"Over the last couple of weeks these issues have been discussed," he said.

"I'm very confident or he wouldn't be in the squad. The team are confident it all can work well.

"We know how important team spirit is. We have to draw a line in the sand. I'm delighted we have a world-class player back and that's what I want as captain."

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