Sir Andrew Strauss admits he made mistakes with the handling of Kevin Pietersen during his time as England captain.
Pietersen scored more than 13,000 runs and 32 centuries for England before he was effectively sacked following the 2013-14 Ashes defeat.
Despite developing into one of England’s greatest players, Pietersen’s international career was plagued by off-field issues, most notably when he was dropped in 2012 after sending messages to South African players in which he allegedly insulted Strauss.
Reflecting on his relationship with Pietersen, former England captain Strauss told Sky Sports: ‘I probably didn’t do enough work with KP.
‘There came a time when some of the people he was close with in the team retired or got dropped.
‘There was an opportunity there, not necessarily to bring him in, but spend a lot more time with him and make sure his views were valued and considered.
‘I think instead I just let KP be KP. In retrospect that was a mistake and might have sowed the seeds for what was to come down the track.
‘I don’t think he would have been in the engine-room of the team in that sense but I’ve always felt a good team environment embraces difference and finds a space for everyone.
‘I think we did that for large periods of time but possibly through neglect, KP became increasingly isolated.
‘Often KP wanted to be the guy who was slightly separate from the team. On any given day it didn’t feel like an issue but over time it became an issue.’
Strauss, who himself scored 21 centuries in 100 Test matches for England, added: ‘Would I do things massively differently if I had my time again? Probably not.
‘The worst thing you can do for players like KP is to straitjacket them and say “you have to abide by x, y and z. You can’t go and play in a flamboyant way, you have to grind it out like Jonathan Trott”.
‘Effectively you’d be asking him to be someone he’s not, so you had to cut him some slack and allow him to be himself.
‘At times, though, what worked for KP almost undermined what the team was trying to do.
‘It felt like there were two completely separate agendas there and that became a problem for me, the rest of the team and [then head coach] Andy Flower.
‘We were all tired, emotional and had spent so much time in each other’s pockets. Probably if we had a bit more space to think clearly it might not have got to that stage and we might have managed it better.
‘But I don’t look back and think “we were wrong to call KP out over some of the things he did”. I think we had to do that.’
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