Cook warns critics against writing off 'world class' Pietersen
England captain Alastair Cook has warned critics against writing off world class Kevin Pietersen so soon after the South Africa-born batsman failed in both the innings of the Ahmedabad Test against India.
Cook believes the controversial batsman is sure to respond to the taunts hurled at him with a bucket-load of runs.
England is desperate for Pietersen to start making big scores because they are in danger of equalling their worst year in Test cricket.
Pietersen hit just 17 and two in England's First Test defeat and batted in a nervy manner that hinted at deep anxiety when facing left-arm spin.
Cook insists Pietersen can handle any criticism and is likely to make the pundits eat their words.
"Kevin held his hands up and admitted he didn't perform very well last week. You don't need to tell him that - he knows it. But anyone who has ever written off KP has been proved very wrong, very quickly," the Sun quoted Pietersen, as saying.
"He is a world-class player who has scored hundreds all around the world. Yes, he had a bad game, like we all can. But write him off at your peril," he added.
Cook added his players could handle harsh words from legendary ex-players such as Sir Ian Botham, Michael Vaughan and Geoff Boycott.
"Players know that if they perform well, they are praised. If they perform badly, there's criticism. That is one of the challenges," Cook said.
"It's different for an international player to when you are a county player. You get far more scrutiny. It's how you deal with that extra pressure that decides how you perform out in the middle. Everyone has a right to criticise when you play badly," he added.