sport

Gooch: Rebuild the priority

Batting coach Graham Gooch feels Kevin Pietersen was a casualty of England's desire to rebuild in the wake of their Ashes nightmare.

Pietersen announced he would no longer be playing for his country on Tuesday after being told he was not being selected for the tour of the West Indies or the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

The England and Wales Cricket Board's new managing director Paul Downton said the time had come to look to the future and blood some younger players, with 33-year-old Pietersen the only victim so far.

Gooch said: "England needed to rebuild the team after Australia because our performances were unacceptable.

"Our performances were not up to the standard that we've produced in the recent past and obviously they want to move forward and build a new future with some younger players, so that's the decision they've made.

"I'm not a selector and I don't make those decisions but introducing new talent to your team on a regular basis is the way you move forward in the long run."

Gooch would not be drawn on talk that Pietersen's antics had split the England dressing room, twice swerving the subject when asked if he had been a divisive figure.

He said: "I've been involved with England for five years and Kevin's played some great innings for England.

"He's been a box office player, an exciting player to watch and I'll just remember the great things he has done for us in the past."

When asked again about Pietersen's behaviour, he added: "I think I've just given you the answer."