Kevin Pietersen is ‘incredibly proud’ of what Joe Root is achieving in cricket but he saw it coming when the England captain made his Test debut in 2012.
Root and England travel to India for a series consisting of four Test matches, five T20s and three ODIs, all of which can be listened to LIVE and exclusively on talkSPORT 2.
England will have a point to prove going into this series having been hammered 4-0 last time they went to India in 2016.
But the tour of India before produced significantly better memories from an England perspective as they won there for the first time, winning the four-match series 2-1 in 2012.
Root made his England debut in the final Test with England just needing a draw to complete the historic win.
He was 21 years old at the time so would have every right to feel nervous as he walked out to bat in Nagpur.
But ‘KP’ revealed that Root actually cut a relaxed figure, much to his former teammate’s astonishment.
Pietersen told Drivetime: “Magnificent. It was the 2012 tour where he made his debut and I was batting in Nagpur and he walked out to bat.
“I remember on my Test debut against Australia at Lord’s and I was a rabbit in headlights – lucky I was wearing briefs and all sorts considering the devastation that Australian’s had had on my body pre-first ball.
“He walked out in Nagpur on a wicket we were batting slowly – draw the Test match to win a series there for the first time – he just walks out to me and goes ‘alright, lad?!’
“I was thinking ‘right, okay. Where do I start here? Do I just let him bat or do I tell him it’s spinning everywhere?’ I actually had nothing to say to him apart from ‘right, I think we should just bat here boss!’
“He had that confidence and he had that nous around his game but also that determination and will to practice the right stuff. It doesn’t surprise me how well he’s done and I’m incredibly proud of the way he’s leading the England team and fighting from the front.”
England are very much second favourites going into the four-match series with the first one beginning on Friday morning.
Pietersen says the wicket in Chennai is typically very slow so batting first must be a priority for England.
He added: “The pitch is slow, very, very slow. Chennai Super Kings play on a pitch which have produced for its spinners [in the Indian Premier League].
“You gotta try and bat first, the toss is very important. But if you do bat first you ought to make sure that you score first innings runs, however you get them, you gotta get them.
“It’ll be attritional cricket in Chennai. Unless there’s really bad bowling you’re not going to see guys smashing it everywhere.
“Batting first is the priority but you have to make it count in Chennai.”