New Zealand v England: Pietersen was desperate to play, says Cook

New Zealand v England: Captain Alastair Cook reveals that Kevin Pietersen was desperate to play in the third and final Test

Alastair Cook has revealed that Kevin Pietersen was desperate to play in the third and final Test against New Zealand in Auckland.

The England batsman has been ruled out of action for six to eight weeks having sustained an injury to his right knee.

“He’s desperately keen to play and he’s upset that he’s going home,” said Cook.

“He tried to fight through the last two matches playing at 90-95% but those last couple of days in the field he felt it come on more and more.”

He added: “It is frustrating for him and for us as a side but this is why you have a squad.”

Having failed to make an impact in the first Test, Pietersen had played his way back into form with a composed 73 in the drawn Test in Wellington.

“Every cloud has a silver lining. Fingers crossed on the scan that he doesn’t need an operation but he could get six weeks’ break, and with a very busy summer ahead if he does get some rest there is a silver lining to it,” added Cook.

Pietersen’s place is expected to be filled by Jonny Bairstow, who has not featured in the Test arena since England’s victory in Mumbai in November last year.

“It’s great that we’re in a very healthy position in the England squad at the moment that when players miss games because of injury other outstanding players can come in,” said Cook.

“Young Jonny has a great opportunity now. One he probably didn’t think he’d be having a couple of days ago but what a time to hopefully make a mark again.”

The third Test is due to begin at 2130GMT on Thursday evening.

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