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Page last updated at 18:46 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Harmison calls for England unity


Harmison wants end to dispute

England pace bowler Steve Harmison says coach Peter Moores and captain Kevin Pietersen should sort out their differences sooner rather than later.

Moores and Pietersen have had problems working together and former captain David Gower believes Moores could be sacked later this month.

"They have got to get their heads together and have a chat and sort out the issues," Harmison told BBC Sport.

"It's about the England cricket team - not Peter Moores or Kevin Pietersen."

The Durham seamer added: "It's not ideal because we are at the start of an Ashes summer but we don't want it to go on and on with what we've got coming over the next nine months.

"They will come and go like all other players, but they have got to be in harmony because otherwise they will drift the team further apart.

"If there is a problem it needs to be sorted sooner rather than later."

England are about to play a series in the West Indies - featuring four Tests and five one-day internationals - which starts on 4 February with the team due to depart for the Caribbean on 21 January.

Moores has declined to comment on the issue but BBC Sport understands he will sit down with Pietersen and England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Hugh Morris this week to discuss the problems.

Pietersen is due to return home from a holiday in Africa on Thursday.

The batsman was appointed England captain last August following Michael Vaughan's resignation.

Before accepting the role, he made a special trip to Loughborough for a private meeting with Moores, with a view to establishing what each man's precise roles would be.

But the pair have failed to gel and after a honeymoon period in which they won the final Test against South Africa and the one-day series 4-0, England flopped in the Stanford Super Series in Antigua before losing the one-dayers and Tests in India.

Gower believes Peter Moores could be dismissed as England coach before his side fly to the West Indies on 21 January.

"I would not stake a huge sum of money (on Moores leading England to the West Indies)," Gower told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It's a bit of a mess but I've got a feeling Pietersen will get his way."

"Hugh Morris has an interesting task on his hands to mediate and if he can't then he's got not much time to start the process of working out who is going to coach England.

"I think the ECB are going to have to go with their captain because their captain is a mightily important figure in what happens this year and over the next few years.

"He is a fantastic player and has got the chance to be a good captain - he's still learning that trade and is far from being a great captain yet - and I think they are going to have to back their captain."

Pietersen has said the tension between him and coach Moores must be sorted out quickly and he told the News of the World newspaper: "This situation is not healthy.

"We have to make sure it is settled as soon as possible and certainly before we fly to the West Indies. Everybody has to have the same aims."

Gower added: "When Pietersen was appointed captain he asked Moores to stay in the background and organise nets while he got on the with the job of organising the team.

"If there is a character clash in terms of personalities, Pietersen is the bigger one and it's not the sort of situation where compromise is going to work. You can't have factions and you can't have divisions.

"It looks to me as though something has to happen and something will happen pretty soon."

Ex-England captain Graham Gooch feels the time Pietersen and Australia legend Shane Warne spent together at Hampshire might have had a negative effect on the South African-born batsman.

"Pietersen has had problems in teams before," Gooch told 5 Live. "He left Notts under a little bit of a cloud after a falling-out in the dressing room.

"Unfortunately I think he has been influenced a little bit by Shane Warne at Hampshire. Warne was a great motivator as a player but, as one of the all-time icons of the game and after leading the Rajasthan Royals to the Indian Premier League (IPL) title last year, he doesn't really believe in coaching.

"He had his own run-ins with John Buchanan, the former Australia coach, and similarly maybe Pietersen doesn't like the style of Peter Moores' coaching."

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see also
Vaughan misses out on tour place
29 Dec 08 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England

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