London: Andrew Strauss has paid a glowing tribute to retired batsman Kevin Pietersen, revealing any animosity he felt towards his former England team-mate has dissipated.
The pair have had a chequered history, with Pietersen admitting to sending "provocative" texts to South Africa players about then England captain Strauss during a series between the two teams in 2012.
Following his elevation to director of England cricket three years ago, Strauss blamed a "massive trust issue" between himself and Pietersen for refusing to countenance an international recall for the South African-born batsman.
Pietersen, who last played for England in 2014, embarked on a nomadic Twenty20 career before announcing his retirement last week.
He is England's second-highest run scorer of all-time across all three formats of the game, while he won four Ashes series and amassed 8,181 runs in 104 Tests, prompting praise from Strauss.
"I think the first thing to say is we've had our differences over time and they've been well-documented," Strauss told BBC radio. "But thankfully they are very much in the past now.
"It is definitely the time for us to appreciate what he did in an England shirt. He was a magnificent player and for me, he was the best England player that I played with.
"(He was an) unbelievable talent and he deserves for us to remember those special days he had in an England shirt and he can go off into retirement feeling pretty happy and comfortable with what he's achieved in the game."
The 37-year-old batsman hinted at his retirement with a Tweet on Friday that simply read "Boots Up! Thank you" before he expanded on his situation on Saturday, saying he would work hard to try to save rhinos from extinction.
Pietersen, who had a brief and ill-fated spell as England captain, will be best remembered for his sublime innings of 158 in the fifth Test against Australia at The Oval in 2005.
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Denly had scored just 18 and 29 in the opening Test against West Indies and was replaced by skipper Joe Root when he returned in the second Test after attending the birth of his child.
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Swann, a three-time Ashes winner, added that England should not mess with the two experienced bowlers and give them an equal opportunity to try and make it to the 2021 Ashes in Australia.