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Andrew Strauss appointed England captain

Last updated on: January 08, 2009 12:04 IST

Opening batsman Andrew Strauss was on Thursday named as the captain of England cricket team after current skipper Kevin Pietersen quit just five months after his appointment and head coach Peter Moores also stepped down, plunging the English cricket into a turmoil.

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Hugh Morris, Managing  Director of England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement in London that Strauss has agreed to lead England in the tour of West Indies next month. Strauss had earlier captained England in place of an injured Michael Vaughan.

The resignation by Pietersen and Morres capped the "breakdown of working" relations between the two and it was "impossibel to restore dressing room unity which is vital if England are to win the forthcoming tour of the Caribbea, the ICC competitions and the Ashes series against Australia", Morris said. 

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) accepted the resignations of Pietersen and Moores who put down their papers after ECB snubbed them for making their spats over team selection issues public. 

The ECB is understood to have held an emergency tele-conference of their 12-man executive board on Tuesday evening to discuss the rift between the coach and the captain. The outcome of those discussions appears to have prompted both men to quit.

In a statement, Pietersen said "in the light of recent communications with  the ECB and the unfortunate media stories and speculation that have subsequently appeared, I now consider that it would be extremely difficult for me to continue in my current position with the England cricket team. 

"Accordingly, I have as of this afternoon decided to stand down as England  captain with immediate effect", he said. 

However, Pietersen said he would be available to play for England. 

"Notwithstanding my resignation as England  captain, I still fully intend to be a part of both England's Test and one-day international squad to tour the West Indies next month and to do all I can to recapture the Ashes during the summer. 

Moores' assistant Andy Flower will stand in as the head coach on an interim basis for England's tour of the West Indies.

Morris said the England Cricket Board determined that Moores should quit as England Head Coach.

Pietersen said he at no point of time, contrary to press speculation, had released any unauthorised information to the media regarding his relationships with the players, coaches and the ECB.

He said he will extend his support to the new captain and will be available to play for England. 

"I am extremely sad and disappointed to have to relinquish the captaincy at such an early stage, especially in a crucial year for English cricket, in such circumstances and particularly when I feel that I have much more to offer the England team as captain.

"However, this decision will not affect my determination to continue playing international cricket for England, doing all I can to win matches for the team and supporting whoever captains the team in the future," Pietersen said.

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