Cape Town - England’s Kevin Pietersen looks to have played his last Test match, and one man who cannot believe it is his school first team cricket coach.
Mike Bechet coached Pietersen at Maritzburg College in 1997 when the future superstar was still eyeing a career at the top.
Bechet, now with Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg, told Sport24 on Tuesday that if it was up to him KP would still have a role to play in the current England setup.
“To me he’s a guy that you can’t leave out of the England side,” Bechet said.
“He’s fiercely competitive and with the right management he is still a match winner.”
England’s new Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss on Tuesday shut the door on an immediate return to the national side for KP, citing “trust issues” as his main reason, but Bechet views Pietersen’s contribution to English cricket as more important.
“When he came through about 15 years ago he helped England become very successful,” said Bechet.
“If you had to ask guys like (Ricky) Ponting and AB (De Villiers) if they would rather play against an England side with or without Pietersen, they would say ‘without’ because they know what he is capable of.”
“He is an eccentric guy, but if he’s managed properly he can still win you games.”
Pietersen on Tuesday left the crease after recording his best ever first class score – 355 not out for Surrey against Leicestershire.