Birmingham - Andrew Strauss believes Kevin Pietersen can act as a
"mentor" to an inexperienced England one-day side despite his own
sometimes difficult relationship with the star batsman.
Pietersen was briefly cast into the international wilderness last year after
being accused of sending derogatory text messages about then England captain
Strauss to South Africa players.
England lost that Test series to the Proteas and Strauss, who'd been
struggling for runs, promptly retired from all senior cricket - a decision he
insisted had nothing to do with the fall-out from the controversy sparked by
Pietersen, the man he succeeded as England skipper.
Pietersen, however, was soon back in the England fold and now finds himself
the senior player in a one-day squad where his fellow recent Ashes-winners
Alastair Cook, now the regular captain, Ian Bell, James Anderson, Stuart Broad
and Graeme Swann have all been rested ahead of the return Test series in
Australia starting in November.
England are 1-0 down in a five-match series, with their convincing 88-run
loss at Old Trafford separating rain-ruined no results at Headingley and again
at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
But whatever the outcome of the series, which continues in Cardiff on
Saturday, Strauss believes the experience of playing alongside Pietersen, whose
2013 has been blighted by injuries, can only benefit the likes of 22-year-old
all-rounder Ben Stokes.
"He can be really good with young players, actually," Strauss told
reporters at Edgbaston on Thursday when asked about the 33-year-old Pietersen.
"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."
Strauss added: "I suppose Kevin is a complicated character. 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."
Only slightly more than 15 overs were possible at Edgbaston on Wednesday,
but that was enough time for often erratic Australia fast bowler Mitchell
Johnson to bounce out Pietersen, having dismissed Jonathan Trott for a duck in
"He's a very dangerous bowler," said Strauss.
"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
Trott averaged under 30 during England's 3-0 Ashes series win this season,
compared with a career mark of nearly 50, but Strauss was confident the
Warwickshire batsman would come good again.
"I suppose it looks like Trotty's fighting with himself a bit at the
moment," said Strauss before setting off to join fellow ex-England captain
Michael Vaughan on his 500-mile (805-kilometre) charity bike ride.
"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," Strauss insisted.
"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