Strauss hails Pietersen appointment

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Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen's appointment met with the approval of Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss has applauded the England selectors’ “brave decision” to appoint Kevin Pietersen as Test and one-day captain following Michael Vaughan’s resignation.

The opening batsman insists Pietersen will find it a hard task to follow Vaughan, who won 26 of his 51 Tests during a five-year reign.

But Strauss is confident the South African born player will have the “full support of all the players” after taking over as Test and one-day skipper - and that the appointment will not affect his batting.

Strauss said: “KP (Pietersen) is a very decisive person and I am sure he will feel he is up to the challenge. It is a bit of a step into the unknown because he hasn’t captained before but it is a new start for us.

“We are all very sad Michael has decided to step down. Having been such an influential figure in the dressing room, it is going to take some used to someone else being in charge.

“It is a big job. I’ve done it a few times and you only had to see how much it meant to Michael Vaughan yesterday to realise it is an encompassing job.

“The one thing I would say about Kevin is everything he has done in his career so far, he has easily stepped up to the mark and found a way to deal with it.

“He is an exceptional batsman and it would take quite a lot for something external to affect his batting.”

Strauss backed Pietersen to succeed despite his lack of captaincy experience, while scotching suggestions that he is a selfish player.

“It is a brave decision because KP hasn’t done much captaincy before," Strauss added. "But I think he has matured a lot in the last couple of years.

Kevin Pietersen

Pietersen "demands respect" in the dressing room, according to England team-mate Alastair Cook

“I think he does play for the team. 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.

“It is going to be a massive job. He will have an abundance of confidence to believe he can do it and he will have the full support of all the players around him.”

Alastair Cook – seen by many as one of the candidates to replace Vaughan – confirmed that he would like to lead his country in the future.

For now, though, he is ready to get behind Pietersen, a figure he believes "demands respect".

"It's the best honour in the the game to captain your country," Cook said. "It's obviously hard off the field but if it came my way I'd love the challenge.

"But at the moment it's all about KP and fingers crossed we can get behind him and help him do a really good job.

"He's an excellent batter and demands respect with his batting. He's also not shy of making the big decisions - those big decisions are not going to affect that style of guy.

"He hasn't done too much captaining before so it will be interesting, but all I know is he has the support of everyone."

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