Graham Gooch excited about new talent replacing Kevin Pietersen

Graham Gooch said he would miss watching the “great entertainer” Kevin Pietersen AFP

Birmingham: Jun 8, 2012

England batting coach Graham Gooch insisted he was excited by trying to replace Kevin Pietersen in the one-day side even though he said they’d miss the “great entertainer”.

Pietersen quit all limited overs internationals last week after being told his England contract prevented him from just concentrating on Twenty20s as his preferred shorter format of the game.

The South Africa-born shotmaker is still a Test batsman but could only watch the rain fall as Thursday’s first day of the third and final Test against the West Indies here at Edgbaston was washed out without a ball bowled.

England are due to announce their squad for the subsequent one-day and Twenty20 series against the West Indies at the end of this match.

Pietersen was a key member of England’s victorious side at the 2010 World Twenty20 in the Caribbean and has also scored over 4,000 runs in 50-over one-day internationals as well.

But former England captain and prolific opening batsman Gooch said England would cope without Pietersen. “Life moves on – one door closes, another one opens,” he said Thursday after play was abandoned for the day at Edgbaston.

“You have got to look at it from a team point of view as an opportunity for someone else to make his mark, to represent his country and to win games for his country.

“I would personally wish Kevin all the best — obviously he’s still going to play Test cricket — in whatever else he does. “But that chapter of his career is finished now, and we have to look forward.”

Pietersen called time on his ODI career on the back of two-match winning hundreds, having belatedly decided to open the innings.

Gooch added: “I look at it as an opportunity for someone else, for a young player, to grab that chance. You’ve got to look forward. “I’d like to think we would find someone who can do the job, absolutely.

“I was always in favour of Kevin Pietersen opening the batting, because I am in favour of putting your best players in first in one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket.

“Get your best players at the top of the order and give them all the overs to make an impact.”

He added: “We’ve got some exciting young players around — Craig Kieswetter, Jonathan Bairstow, James Taylor, Jos Buttler — these are all guys who are in and around the Lions and one-day team.

“They are not new names but they are guys I see taking English cricket forward over the next few years.” But Gooch was in no doubt that Pietersen would be far from easy to replace in the one-day team.

“Kevin is a superb player for England in all forms of the game. He’s a great entertainer, he’s a box-office player that excites the cricketing public, not only in this country but around the world.

“So, before you ask me is he going to be missed?, sure he’s going to be missed because any player who’s capable of winning a match is going to be missed by a team.”

An increasingly crowded international schedule, couple with the advent of the lucrative Indian Premier League, has seen a growing number of players opt out of all three international formats.”

Pietersen, 32 later this month, is also the father of a young son and Gooch said the pressure of family life were something players had to consider when committing to packed itineraries.

However, speaking of Pietersen’s decision to quit limited overs internationals, Gooch said: “He is the only one who can give you the true insight as to why he decided to retire from ODI cricket. (AFP)