Kevin Pietersen has questioned Alastair Cook’s desire ahead of the third Ashes Test in Perth and suggested his England career may be coming to an end.
Cook, playing his 150th Test match at the WACA next week, has struggled to make an impact in the ongoing Ashes series, scoring 62 runs in four innings.
The 32-year-old was dismissed twice by Nathan Lyon in the 120-run defeat in Adelaide, a result which saw Australia take a 2-0 lead in the series with three games remaining.
Cook has scored almost 12,000 Test runs since making his international debut over a decade ago but Pietersen has doubts over the former captain’s motivation.
‘It looks like Cook is not very interested,’ Pietersen told ESPNcricinfo. ‘Just the way that he’s got out, the manner of his dismissals and also the way he’s walked off the field once he’s got out.
‘That’s the sign of a bloke who goes, “You know what? Maybe my time is up.” But he’s also quite resilient so can he turn it around?
‘He’s a wonderful player and has been for England for a hell of a long time. This will be his 150th Test match, so you never know.
‘He might be able to put up a performance in his 150th Test match, which gives them a lot of energy and excitement going into the WACA.
Ashes schedule – the key dates
First Test: November 23-27 (Brisbane)
Second Test: December 2-6 (Adelaide)
Third Test: December 14-18 (Perth)
Fourth Test: December 25-29 (Melbourne)
Fifth Test: January 3-7 (Sydney)
‘He’s got a Test hundred at the WACA before. But who knows? That fire burns in your belly for a number of years and then eventually it starts to go out. I had spotted it before the series and there’s certainly no signs at the moment to prove there’s any fire in Cook’s belly.’
Pietersen also said England’s batsmen were too negative against the impressive pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. England’s top score in the series is just 302.
‘For us we can’t understand how there’s just no oomph, there’s no drive, there’s no real determination to say, “Well, these Australian bowlers are not bowling 100 miles an hour”,’ Pietersen added.
‘They’re not bowling at a speed they haven’t faced throughout their careers. One or two balls have been 150kph but they’re in the 140s, which isn’t something that people haven’t faced before.
‘So to me it looks like the England batters are making out that this Australian bowling attack in their head is some of the fastest they’ve ever faced, is the scariest bowling they’ve ever faced and it looks like they’re just very nervous when they go out to bat and it’s frustrating as a commentator because I want to see somebody try to get on top of the Australian bowlers.
‘That’s what I did in my career. I was like, “No, no. The quicker you come the quicker you’re gonna go.” And even if I didn’t feel good on occasions, I made it look like I felt good because that’s the way you need to do what you need to do in Australia.
‘You need to get on top of them and you need to show them that you’re not scared and you’re not worried and there’s no one in that England side at the moment that doesn’t look scared.
‘It takes guts, it takes determination, it takes bravery and it takes a backing of your skill and it takes positivity.’
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