Cork backs decision to drop KP

Dominic Cork believes England have made the correct decision to drop Kevin Pietersen, thus ending the batsmen's international career.

Pietersen, 33, the scorer of an English record 13,797 runs in all international formats, was informed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that he had not been included in the national squads for the forthcoming tour of the Caribbean later this month, nor the World Twenty20 to be held in Bangladesh in March.

The decision comes in the wake of England's disastrous Ashes tour of Australia, during which Pietersen scored 294 runs at an average of 29.40, as the tourists were whitewashed 5-0 in the Test series.

Cork admitted that Pietersen would be a loss to the national team but claimed the timing was right to bring to an end the international career of one of the most divisive players in England's recent history.

"I don't think I was surprised," Cork told Sky Sports News. "I think now is the right time. When you look at everything we have been through with Kevin Pietersen.

"What I've been thinking about since I heard the news is that he is England's most destructive player on and off the pitch.

"When you look at the sort of individual that he is, he is exciting for all cricket fans to watch. But what he brings with him is a lot of baggage."

Cook relationship

The decision to exclude Pietersen from the England set-up comes just a year after his reintegration to the side following the "textgate" affair, in which the player is believed to have sent derogatory texts about his team-mates to South African players during the series between the two in 2012.

It has been reported that this most recent decision to axe him is as a result of a breakdown in his relationship with captain Alastair Cook. That reportedly came to a head during the Sydney Test of the Ashes with the two men reportedly involved in a confrontation in the pavilion.

Cork, who captained Pietersen at Hampshire, admitted the decision to drop Pietersen was a bold one but inevitable if he is a disruption to the dressing room.

"It is a massive gamble and a brave decision," added Cork. "He has been so destructive in all forms of the game, scoring all those runs and that is very hard to replace.

"But what I'm hearing is there was an altercation between himself and Alastair Cook. Cook was one of his friends and wanted him back in when his reintegration happened.

"When you put yourself out there as captain and an altercation happens - I heard there was nearly a dust-up, a fight in the Sydney Pavilion - you can't do that to a captain.

"Players do need to be a little bit arrogant and have an ego to actually perform at the highest level but that is not the issue. It is what happens in the team.

"There are some players who can't be managed and unless they toe the line and understand what it means to be part of a team then it is time to go.

"Team ethic and philosophy are key to England now and he obviously can't toe the line."