Alastair Cook: England naughty with timing - Steve Harmison

Alastair Cook and Steve Harmison training for England
Cook and Harmison played in three one-day internationals as England team-mates

The timing of Alastair Cook's removal as England one-day captain was "naughty", according to Steve Harmison.

Cook, 29, had the role taken away by the England and Wales Cricket Board on Friday, 24 hours before the 2015 World Cup squad announcement.

Ex-England bowler Harmison said the selectors had been swayed by the media.

"To get rid of him now when he's taken lots of punches for some people [at the ECB] is naughty," he said. "I'd like them to have done it six months ago."

Twitter reaction to Cook's departure
Michael Vaughan, ex-England captain: Right call made by England... Now I hope Cook can have a good break and then come back in the summer as the Test player we know he can be... Congrats @Eoin16... The right man for the job....
Kevin Pietersen, ex-England international: Great news that @Eoin16 is new England one-day captain. Top player, leader and bloke. Hope I get to play for him.

The ECB will announce its 15-man squad for next month's tri-series in Australia, and the World Cup in February, on Saturday.

A host of former England captains - including Nasser Hussain, Alec Stewart and Michael Vaughan - have called for Cook to be replaced as captain.

Harmison also said off-field issues had not helped the opening batsman, who has endured a turbulent year, in which he has presided over a 5-0 Ashes series defeat, the ending of Kevin Pietersen's international career and calls for him to stand down as Test captain.

However, as recently this week he retained the backing of ECB managing director Paul Downton and England coach Peter Moores.

Harmison continued on BBC Radio 5 live: "The ECB said he's our man, he's our captain, we're going to back him and then they get rid of him at the last minute.

"When you're playing international sport and you've got these people in charge of the game, who needs opposition?"

Cook has struggled for form in the one-day game, averaging only 27.52 runs in each of his last 20 innings and the recent 5-2 series defeat in Sri Lanka proved to be his last as skipper.

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