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Kevin Pietersen’s leadership credentials may have been been badly hit in the aftermath of the Peter Moores saga but successor Andrew Strauss has no doubt that the South Africa-born batsman will go on to become a legend of the game.
“He clearly is very passionate about playing for England for a long period of time. He recognises that what’s happened and the way things have happened is unfortunate. I don’t like to use the word legend but I think he will become a legend of the game,” Strauss said.
Strauss felt Pietersen would need some time to settle in after losing the captaincy but urged his predecessor to give of his best for his country in the upcoming West Indies tour.
“I talked to Kevin a few times and I’ve been very,very pleasantly surprised by his attitude. He loved captaining England so I suppose not being captain will take a while to settle in,” Strauss said.
“But I think first and foremost he’s an incredible batsman and I’ve got no doubts whatsoever he’s going to go out to the West Indies and score millions of runs and prove what a strong character he is as well,” he was quoted as saying by ‘Daily Telegraph’.
The England squad was reportedly divided during the Pietersen-Moores saga,with some senior players unhappy with Pietersen’s bahaviour.
Andrew Flintoff has admitted he could not have supported Pietersen in his campaign to oust Moores,but Strauss denied any cliques exist and said the group will grow stronger in the Caribbean.
“It’s been a pretty low time for everyone involved but I was very reassured by the chats I had with the players,both individually and as a group. We haven’t been affected particularly badly as a group by this. The divisions that the press made out were in the side were not evident at all,” said Strauss.
“The real crux of the matter was that the coach and the captain had very different ideas going forward and couldn’t really find a way of working through those problems. The players themselves weren’t really involved in that,” Strauss said.
“As a group being together,we’re pretty good and the tour will bring people together so we’re in a much better position than a lot of people think.”
Strauss,who averages 42.37 runs in 55 Test matches,said for him captaincy would be a new beginning.
“It’s very exciting for me because it’s like a blank canvas in terms of how we take the team forward. I’m very hopeful it’s going to be a long-term appointment and certainly in terms of how I’m setting out — getting the set-up and the environment right — it’s not something which happens overnight.
“That’s certainly the indication I’ve been given from the ECB and that’s the way I’m looking at it.”