GRAHAM Gooch said he respects the decision of England selectors to sack Kevin Pietersen.

The former Essex and England captain who is also the batting coach for the national team said it was clear those in charge of the side want to rebuild without the batsman.

Speaking at the Ford County Ground in Chelmsford during the unveiling of new sponsors for Essex, Gooch said changes were needed after the 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

The 60-year-old who played 118 tests in a 20 year international career said it was disappointing to see Pietersen go but tough choices had to be made.

Gooch said: “After a tour like the one just gone in Australia where the performance was not up to standard, changes have to be made and the team rebuilt.

“The team now in charge fronted by Paul Downton decided to make changes and I respect them.

“Kevin has been an outstanding player for England ever since he made his debut in 2005 and he is a box office player who played many great match winning and series winning innings.

“But the England selectors have decided to go down a different path now and some tough decisions had to be made and all I can say is that I wish Kevin all the best in the future.”

He went onto say he thinks Essex’s Alastair Cook is still the right man to lead England for the foreseeable future but he must learn from the humbling whitewash down under.

“I think Alastair is the right man to be captain,” Gooch said.

“He is a well respected player and he needs to learn from what happened in Australia and if he does then he’ll come out a stronger person and better captain.”

Essex head coach Paul Grayson said it was a shame to see Pietersen go.

Grayson said: “I was surprised when I heard it but there’s obviously been a few issues in the dressing room “The sad thing is we’ve got a 33-year-old player who is one of the world’s best cricketers who we’re not going to see on the international stage again.”