England can beat West Indies to end Kevin Pietersen talk - Gooch

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen will play for Surrey in their opening Championship game with Glamorgan on 19 April

Former England captain Graham Gooch says a successful tour of the West Indies can put a stop to continuing talk of a return for Kevin Pietersen.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman-elect Colin Graves has hinted Pietersen could return to the team for the first time since the 2013-14 Ashes.

"The best thing England can do is to win well in the Windies and all these comments might go away," said Gooch.

England begin the tour with two two-day games, the first of which is on Monday.

The tourists play a St Kitts & Nevis Invitation XI and face the same opposition in another two-day fixture which begins on Wednesday.

Gooch, who was replaced as England's batting coach by Mark Ramprakash last year, said the pressure will be on coach Peter Moores given their disappointing performance in the recent World Cup, when Eoin Morgan replaced Alastair Cook as one-day captain but the team failed to progress beyond the opening group stage.

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Captain Alastair Cook had 'refreshing & enjoyable' break

"If they don't win, Moores's job will be on the line but it would difficult to change a coach so close ahead of big series against New Zealand and Australia," Gooch told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme.

"Peter's judgement has to be questioned in the World Cup with regard to selection.

"The coach is the main driving force in terms of selection so to change your captain shortly before the start and also your perceived template comes into question and I think that was poor."

On the subject of Pietersen, who was sacked by England last year but has heeded Graves's wishes by signing to play county cricket, Gooch said: "He is box office and still good enough - it is whether he has the will and appetite to go to these places and turn it on for Surrey.

"Ever since he was disposed of by England, I think him and his media team have wiped the floor with the ECB. He has won the media PR battle, his name is up in lights and he is looked at as the saviour of English cricket.

"We need to get our cricket right. Cook needs to lead from the front - he has had three months off and is refreshed and has been working hard.

"It is a great media story to get Kevin back in, but I think if he doesn't get a call-up, he will be off to the Caribbean Premier League mid-summer."

Pietersen later hit back on Twitter, making reference to Gooch's involvement in a "rebel" England tour of apartheid-era South Africa in 1982, for which Gooch and the other players were banned from international cricket for three years.

He tweeted: "Graham Gooch - you captained a rebel tour of SA, got banned & then returned to the England team. I don't think I've done anything as bad!"

Following the warm-ups in St Kitts, England play the Windies in Tests in Antigua (13-17 April), Grenada (21-25 April) and Barbados (1-5 May).

Listen to commentary on England's Test series in the West Indies on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

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