Pietersen tweeted, “Dear Alastair, if you care about England’s chances this winter, please resign,” after England’s eight-wicket defeat by Sri Lanka. 

In matches against Test-playing sides, the loss in Colombo is England 15th in their last 22 – it’s not a good look but Cook insists his group must stick strong in the lead up to a series in Australia leading into the World Cup. 

“People are entitled to their view. That’s the nature of the beast when you’re on the outside,” Cook said in response to Pietersen’s tweets. 

“People believe what they want to believe. In our dressing-room, we’ve got to stay strong as a group.

“We’re the guys who have the honour of playing for England at this moment in time, and we have guys who have the opportunity to turn it round – not other people outside.”

Pietersen has become a professional talk show book promoter since being punted from the England line-up after Australia’s 5-0 Ashes triumph. 

KP’s also called for, and isn’t alone, the inclusion of Alex Hales at the top of the England order in Cook’s place. 

Cook has an average of 29 in his last 16 matches. 

“I’ve just got to do what I keep doing, believing in myself, doing my basics right,” he says. 

A more measured critic, Michael Vaughan said change should be afoot for England. 

“It’s not too late to change,” he said. “It’s not too late to compete, but England won’t if they stay the same.”