Athers - KP is your man

Sky Sports analyst reckons Collingwood was pushed

Last Updated: 04/08/08 2:10pm

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Pietersen: favourite to take over

Pietersen: favourite to take over

Sky Bet

Former England captain Michael Atherton told Sky Sports News that Kevin Pietersen should succeed Michael Vaughan as England skipper.

Vaughan announced he was to step down following the series defeat to South Africa.

Paul Collingwood also revealed he was to follow the Yorkshire batsman by quitting his role as captain of the one-day side.

Pietersen, Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flintoff are believed to be the main contenders for both jobs, although Kent batsman Rob Key has also been mentioned as a candidate from outside the present squad.

But the Sky Sports analyst insists it is the South Africa-born Pietersen - the bookies' odds-on favourite - who should be given the chance to lead his adopted country.

"If you're talking about someone to take on both jobs then Kevin Pietersen becomes the number one candidate because he's one of the few people who can be guaranteed their place in both teams," Atherton said.

Atherton also suggested that Collingwood may have been pressurised into quitting the one-day role.

"Michael Vaughan's decision is his own decision, but I can't believe that Paul Collingwood made that decision off his own back," he added.

"Clearly they want to unite the job and get one bloke in there, and they've given Paul a gentle nudge to say that this is in the best interests of the team."

Successful

As for Vaughan, Atherton continued: "He's been a wonderfully successful captain, England's most successful in terms of Test match wins, and is surely one of England's greatest ever captains.

"In terms of playing, captaining, leading, decision-making, Michael Vaughan is the best man for the job."

He added: "I know what he's been going through.

"It's a wonderful job but it's also a job that becomes all-consuming. He said he's not been himself at home and wanted to 'get back to being me'.

"The job gets on top of you. It's a great job but you're thinking about it all the time.

"When you're supposed to be at dinner with friends or the wife, you're thinking about who should be opening the bowling the next day and how to tell your mate he's not in the next team.

"That pressure eventually bears down on you and if you're not getting runs as well then it becomes very difficult."

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