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Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 15:01 UK

Pietersen appointment is 'brave'


Strauss, Flintoff and Tufnell all came out in support of the appointment

Andrew Strauss believes England have made a "brave decision" by appointing team-mate Kevin Pietersen as captain of the national team.

The 28-year-old was named the successor to Michael Vaughan, who stepped down from the role on Sunday.

"It is a brave decision because KP hasn't done much captaincy before," said former England skipper Strauss.

"But everything he has done in his career, he has easily stepped up to the mark and found a way to deal with it."

Pietersen has been accused in the past of not being a team player, but Strauss said that characteristic can no longer be applied to the Hampshire star.

"I think he does play for the team," added the Middlesex player.

"I think that selfish aspect is overplayed. He would probably admit in his youth he was a bit like that but I don't think he is like that so much now."

Strauss did, however, admit to a tinge of disappointment that he had been overlooked for the role.

He said: "The selectors had a decision to make. If they wanted a captain for all three formats including Twenty20, the list would have been short.

"I'm not involved in two of the formats. I would have liked to have done the Test job and, to that degree, I am disappointed I have not been given the opportunity. I enjoyed it when I had a go a couple of years ago."

Meanwhile, Andrew Flintoff, who captained England during the disastrous Ashes whitewash in 2006/7, backed his England team-mate to succeed.

"It's a big job to take on but if anyone can do well then it's him," the 30-year-old all-rounder told BBC Radio 5 Live.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett

"It was a bit too much for me during the last Ashes series and affected my form as an all-rounder, but Kevin's a batsman and the captaincy shouldn't affect his ability."

England player Ian Bell believes Pietersen's batting style will influence the ways he captains.

"His batting is aggressive and his captaincy will be similar," Bell added on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"He likes to work very hard and likes to think about all aspects of his game. He has the backing of his team."

Former Nottinghamshire coach Clive Rice brought Pietersen from South Africa at the end of the last century.

The 59-year-old said the Hampshire batsman will need as much advice as he can get because his lack of experience as a cricket captain.

"When I originally signed him up for Notts I saw his talent as batsman and bowler," he said.

"I'm delighted for him but I think he will need all the help in the world. The England players don't play county cricket and don't get experience of captaincy.

"Kevin has to make sure he is still focused on his job as a batsman. You cant have 'Roy of the Rovers' as captain.

The most important thing about being a leader is having the respect of the players

Graham Gooch
Former England captain

"You have to make the experienced Paul Collingwood the vice-captain. And you have to have former captains Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain giving him ideas."

Former England skipper Graham Gooch said Pietersen needs to ensure he has the full support of his international team-mates.

"England need someone they can respect and who can take them forward over a period of time," the 55-year-old told the BBC.

"There are precedents for the best player being the captain - Allan Border did it for Australia and Viv Richards. They were both successful, so why not?

"The most important thing about being a leader is having the respect of the players because then they follow you and play for you."

Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock believes Pietersen will need to trust his own judgements during his tenure.

"He needs to surround himself with a good unit - he needs to back his own instinct," he added on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It's often instinct you rely on, on the field, and man-management off the field."

Pollock also said that he did not expect the South Africa public to resent the appointment of a player who was born and plied his trade in their country before moving to England at the age of 19.

"It won't be a big thing back home," he said. "We've more than accepted it and moved on from that state of mind. They'll understand he has gone."

When Pietersen first arrived in county cricket he sometimes alienated team-mates, including former Nottinghamshire captain Jason Gallian.

Their relationship famously culminated in Gallian throwing Pietersen's bat off the dressing room balcony because of a contractual dispute, but he said he feels Pietersen is a different character now.

"In those days it was very early when he'd come from South Africa and was quite naive, but now he's polished and playing at the top level - one of the world's best players," Gallian told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Within the changing room he has a huge amount of respect as a player, and as a character hopefully he's matured into someone who's also a good person behind that, which will make him hopefully into a rounded England captain."

see also
Pietersen named England captain
04 Aug 08 |  England
The rise and rise of KP
04 Aug 08 |  England
Kevin Pietersen career photos
04 Aug 08 |  Cricket
Bopara replaces Vaughan in squad
04 Aug 08 |  England
Vaughan quits as England captain
04 Aug 08 |  England
Collingwood explains resignation
03 Aug 08 |  England

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