KP reveals Vaughan influence
Kevin Pietersen has revealed the influence Michael Vaughan has had on his game since his international debut.
Last Updated: 30/06/09 8:31am
Kevin Pietersen has revealed the influence Michael Vaughan has had on his own game ever since his international career got underway in the most trying of circumstances.
Having pledged his future to England after disagreements with cricket authorities in the country of his birth regarding their racial quota scheme, Pietersen subsequently made his debut in South Africa four years ago.
Pietersen says the advice given to him by then captain Vaughan, who is expected to announce his retirement from cricket at a press conference on Tuesday, has stood him good stead ever since.
He said: "Michael Vaughan was huge to me. I remember one of the first things he said to me - coming in at The Wanderers to play South Africa in that huge series when 60,000 people were looking as if they were going to kill me.
"He walked up to me in the middle of the wicket and said 'The ball is white; the ball is round, you know what you've done to get here, just watch it as hard as you can'.
"That calmed me right down, from being a gibbering wreck walking on to that field to the player that I am now because that's all I do now. I just watch the ball.
"That's why when people say in series where the opposition is right at you I normally succeed because all I do is watch the cricket ball. I don't think about any rubbish. I just watch it."
Vaughan is set to quit after not being named in England's plans for this summer's Ashes series against Australia, the Yorkshire batsman having been dogged by knee problems in recent years.
Pietersen, who replaced Vaughan as England captain after the latter's decision to step down last summer, also thinks his decision typifies the sense of timing he has displayed throughout his career.
He said: "It's brilliant. That just shows what a great man he is. He always knew when the right time was to do anything - tactics-wise, when he batted etc.
"He's a good, good guy. To let Straussy know to continue leading the team and Ravi Bopara know, to continue going in at number three without having to worry about anything - the timing is perfect.
"He is a great leader of men, and you learn a lot from guys like that. He's left us in really good shape and good hands. Straussy still communicates with Vaughany.
"I do too, and I know a lot of the senior players still do."
All-rounder Andrew Flintoff also praised the significance of Vaughan during his spell in charge of England.
He said: "The man has been England's best ever captain statistically. From my point of view, so far I've put my best years of cricket under him.
"He has helped me out and has helped everyone out who has played under him.
"He was unflappable. You would see him and there could be mayhem going on all around him and he would be stood there as if nothing was happening, whether a side were 500 for nought or 90 for nine.
"He gave confidence to his team and he helped me as a player and as a bloke, he is a mate as well. He will go down as one of the greats of the English game."