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“He can be fantastic, really good and engaged in the dressing room and really go out of his way to help other people at times”
Former England captain Andrew Strauss has put his differences with flamboyant batsman Kevin Pietersen aside and endorsed the South African-born big-hitter to be a “fantastic” mentor to the younger players in the ODI squad.
Pietersen was banished from the national team last summer after he sent text messages to some of the South African players, telling them how to dismiss Strauss during their series in July.
England ended up losing the series 2-0, which led to Strauss announcing his retirement.
“He can be really good with young players, actually,” Strauss said. “I think it’s good that he’s playing this one-day series, and him opening the batting in one-day cricket is an interesting and potentially quite explosive option for England to use.
“Given that he’s had injuries, and whatever, it’s quite nice for him to have a good run of cricket. I hope he is playing that mentoring role and playing it well.”
While Strauss admitted that Pietersen was a “complicated character”, he added that the 33-year-old’s heart was always in the right place.
“I suppose Kevin is a complicated character,” Strauss said. “But he can be fantastic, really good and engaged in the dressing room and really go out of his way to help other people at times.
“You want to see him do that, because he’s at the stage of his career now where he’s got a lot to offer those young players coming through and they all look up to him as well. So it’s good to hear that he’s doing that.”
Speaking about Australia left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson, who had a prolific impact in the recent limited overs series, Strauss noted that he was a “very dangerous bowler”, who always posed a threat.
“He’s a very dangerous bowler,” Strauss said. “We’ve seen him at his best; in Perth in 2010 he was phenomenal.
“The England players have seen a lot of him, and kind of know how to deal with him. But if it’s his day, and he’s on song, he’s a handful for anyone.”
Strauss also had a few encouraging words for England batsman Jonathan Trott, who averaged 29.30 in the recent Ashes series compared to a career average of 47.39.
“I suppose it looks like Trotty’s fighting with himself a bit at the moment,” Strauss said. “He’s had a tough summer, by his very high standards.
“But I’ve seen a lot of Jonathan Trott, as an individual and as a batsman, and he’ll come back strong. One thing he does know how to do is keep calm out there in the middle and trust his gameplan — that’s always the best way to score runs consistently.”