London: Former England captain Andrew Strauss has said exiled batsman Kevin Pietersen was the best player he ever played with.
"In terms of being able to do things that other cricketers couldn't, in the England side while I was involved he was the one guy that stood out for me," Strauss was quoted as saying by cricket..com.au on Saturday.
Strauss and Pietersen had a fractured relationship off the field, sullied by a series of scandals.
In 2012, Strauss bowed out of international cricket in a controversial fashion after it was discovered that Pietersen had been sending text messages to certain South African cricketers that denigrated his captain and disclosed information on how to dismiss the left-hander.
Two years later, Strauss was caught calling Pietersen a “c-t” during a commentary stint when he mistakenly thought his live microphone was turned off.
Pietersen was axed following England's 0-5 Ashes whitewash last summer, but a change in leadership at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has reignited the right-hander's hopes to once again represent the team.
But Strauss says the hype and publicity surrounding Pietersen has distracted the ECB, and the only way to put it behind them is to start winning games of cricket.
"It's very important for English cricket to move on from the Kevin Pietersen situation,” said Strauss.
"That threatens to envelop everything at the moment. The story has become more of a distraction than actually him playing or not, it's become that big," he added.
"The ECB and England team's efforts to move on from him haven't worked so far, (but) by winning, that will allow them to move forward."