Andrew Strauss insists the England team have finally moved on from the Kevin Pietersen saga and made it clear there is no way back for the record run-scorer.
Strauss, the England and Wales Cricket Board's director of England cricket, was the man who told Pietersen earlier this summer he would play no part in the Ashes against Australia - and he believes the decision to provide that "clarity" has helped the team.
Speaking at the Soccerex conference in Manchester, Strauss said: "I think the danger at that time is that particular issue would overshadow everything that happened on the pitch over the course of the summer.
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"I would hate to say just because I made that decision we won the Ashes, I don't think that's true at all. What I was trying to do was provide clarity going forward so everyone knew where they stood, and that could allow the players to concentrate what was going on in the middle rather than some of the other stuff that was surrounding. I think that clarity has helped to be honest, but it's up to the players to go out and perform."
He added: "I think the team has moved on and the team is in a pretty good place. I think some of those young guys have established themselves.
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"You look at [Joe] Root, [Ben] Stokes, Moeen Ali as three guys over the past 18 months that have really come through and have the makings of top-quality international players. That's what we will be focusing on taking England forward."
Strauss also admitted that England have been "woeful" in World Cups and believes a shake-up to the County Championship could help that cause.
He added: "I think blocks of white ball cricket is fundamental to making improvements. That's why we have proposed reducing the Championship by two games. I don't think it's going to have a massive effect on our four-day cricket but hopefully will have a massive effect on our one-day cricket.
"We need a fundamentally different focus on white ball cricket, one-day cricket and T20 cricket because the game has been so geared towards Test cricket for decades and we've been consistently woeful in World Cups."
Strauss also said he believed Stokes had merely been taking evasive action rather than trying to deliberately obstruct the flight of the ball when he was given out against Australia on Saturday.
He said: "My personal point of view is he was [taking evasive action] but I wasn't the umpire, the third umpire or out on the pitch."
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