LONDON (AFP) - Andrew Strauss will take over as England cricket captain following the resignation of Kevin Pietersen, the managing director of England cricket said on Wednesday. Hugh Morris, after a day of intense speculation, also confirmed that team coach Peter Moores had been asked to "relinquish his role" after Pietersen's resignation, which followed a feud between the captain and coach. "The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have accepted with regret the resignation of Kevin Pietersen as captain," he said, reading a statement at an emergency press conference at The Oval cricket ground in London. But he added that Pietersen was "highly valued as a senior and experienced player and we are delighted that he has indicated that he is willing to remain part of the England team." Pietersen, who like Strauss was born in South Africa, had questioned the ability of Moores - who never played international cricket himself - as a coach in a dispute which became public just weeks before England depart on January 21 for their tour of the West Indies. The duo's dispute also threatened to cast a cloud over the team's build-up for this year's Ashes series at home to Australia. Morris, who refused to take questions from reporters, said in his statement Pietersen "recognised that in the present situation it was impossible to restore the dressing room unity". "I have an extremely high respect and regard for Kevin Pietersen but this has become an impossible situation given the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship between captain and coach." Pietersen, only appointed captain in August and who led the team for just three Tests, said in his own statement issued earlier Wednesday: "I consider it would be extremely difficult for me to continue my current position with the England cricket team. "Accordingly I have as of this afternoon decided to stand down as England captain with immediate effect." However, he added: "Notwithstanding my resignation as England captain I fully intend to be part part of both England's Test and One-Day International squad to tour the West Indies next month, and to do all I can to recapture the Ashes during the summer. "I'm extremely sad and disappointed to have to relinquish the captaincy at such an early stage especially in a crucial year for England cricket in such circumstances, and particularly when I feel that I have had much more to offer the England team as captain. "However, this decision will not affect my determination to continue playing international cricket for England, doing all I can to win matches for the team and supporting whoever captains the team in the future," the 28-year-old star batsman insisted. Strauss stood in as England captain in 2006 when Michael Vaughan was injured and led the side to a series win over Pakistan. Morris added the board would announce their coaching set-up for the Caribbean tour "as soon as possible" and would then embark on an immediate search for a new permanent head coach. Pietersen gave credence to longstanding rumours that his relationship with Moores was in trouble by telling Sunday's News of the World newspaper: "This situation is not healthy... Everybody has to have the same aims and pull in the same direction for the good of the England team." Pietersen is currently on holiday in South Africa and not due back in England until Thursday. Although well thought of by both the management and his colleagues, 31-year-old Strauss, unlike Pietersen, is not currently a member of the England one-day side. Pietersen, who quit South Africa for England because he believed his progress was being blocked by racial quotas, was handed the England captaincy in August following Vaughan's tearful resignation.His first match in full charge saw him score a century as England defeated South Africa in the final, 'dead rubber' Test at The Oval before overwhelming the Proteas 4-0 in the ensuing limited overs series. Pietersen won widespread praise for persuading his teammates to resume their tour of India after the Mumbai terror attacks.But on the field, England failed to defend a 387-run target during the first Test against India in Chennai. Reports then emerged that Pietersen had been unhappy with the quality of the tactical input he had received from Moores, whom he had previously criticised for working the players too hard physically on last year's tour of New Zealand.