Kevin Pietersen plays mentor role well for England says former captain Andrew Strauss

Pietersen is providing a reassuring and encouraging presence for the clutch of emerging players

Andrew Strauss is heartened to hear Kevin Pietersen is providing a reassuring and encouraging presence for the clutch of emerging players in England's NatWest Series squad.

Before the rain-ruined third match of five against Australia in Birmingham, England limited-overs coach Ashley Giles was at pains to point out that Pietersen has been a great help in trying to nurture the new boys' talent.

Strauss had his ups and downs with Pietersen, of course, during his time as England captain - most notably when the mercurial batsman's stand-off with team management came to a head a year ago.

It is no surprise to Strauss, however, that England are also able to benefit from the other side of Pietersen's "complicated character".

Asked whether he believes the 33-year-old can flourish in his unofficial mentoring role for young players such as his new one-day international opening partner Michael Carberry, all-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan or teenage fast bowler Jamie Overton, Strauss said: "Yes, he can.

"He can be really good with young players actually.

"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 has seen evidence of Pietersen's caring and sharing before.

"I suppose Kevin is a complicated character," he added.

"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."

Strauss also believes it is a sensible idea for England to again deploy Pietersen as an ODI opener.

Even if they defer eventually to the established partnership of captain Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, that pair rested for a series England trail 1-0 with two to play, Strauss sees Pietersen as a viable alternative.

"Everything in the back of Ashley Giles' mind at the moment is thinking '2015 World Cup in Australia'," he said.

"So to have a look at Pietersen at the top in these sort of conditions is quite useful for him.

"Obviously, Cook and Bell have done a good job at the top themselves... so he's got options up his sleeve."

:: Andrew Strauss joined Michael Vaughan on his 500 mile charity bike ride, 'PruProtect Chance to Ride', in aid of Chance to Shine and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Sponsor Michael at http://www.chancetoride.co.uk

PA

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