Pietersen on a learning curve
Kevin Pietersen will return home later today from leading England's tour of India admitting it has been one of the toughest times of his career.
Pietersen arrives back with the rest of England's squad having salvaged some pride by drawing the final Test.
During the last two months he has overseen the Stanford Super Series in Antigua, a 5-0 one-day series defeat in India and the delicate negotiations about whether England should return for the Test series in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
It would have been a tough examination even for an experienced captain, let alone someone who only took over in charge of England's Test and one-day sides a couple of months earlier.
"It's probably been the toughest six to eight weeks of my career so far so to score a hundred like I did (in the final Test) meant a heck of a lot to me," said Pietersen.
"I don't think captaining any nation in any sport is an easy job and you acknowledge when you take on the job that it's going to be very hard at times.
"These last two months have been pretty difficult, so you can look at the positives and when the good times come back again you can enjoy them a lot more."
But despite another series defeat, Pietersen feels his experiences on tour - his first as captain - have been invaluable to evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of his team-mates.
"You learn a lot about individuals," he revealed. "Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood, blokes I played under, said that when you go away you see how people operate.
"I've learned a lot. It's been a very interesting first two Tests to skipper away from home and I've enjoyed it - it's been a great challenge out in India.
"We unfortunately come unstuck but we've all had a great time out here and everyone has been so hospitable."
Meanwhile, England have been fined by the ICC for a slow over-rate during the six-wicket defeat to India in the first Test.
Pietersen's side were ruled to have been one over short of the target in Chennai when time allowances were considered and a fine has been imposed by Jeff Crowe of the ICC match referees elite panel.
Players are fined five per cent of their match fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with captains fined 10 per cent.