London, Aug.7 : South Africa's cricket captain Graeme Smith has said that his England counterpart Kevin Pietersen should be given at least six months to prove his leadership credentials.
"He (KP) won't experience too many of the pressures right now. Captaincy is about what happens in a few months' time, and in the next couple of series. That is when he will begin to understand what running a team and getting a team to play for you is all about. It's going to be interesting for him to learn," The Telegraph quoted Smith as saying ahead of the Oval Test, which begins today.
"Kevin has got a one-off Test against us. He'll be hugely motivated, he'll be excited and nervous, and he'll have a lot of energy for this game. It's easy to make one-off decisions when you feel it doesn't really matter in this Test. But six months down the line, can you sustain the team you want to play and the brand of cricket you want to play? That's when it starts to show," added Smith.
Smith has been unwittingly responsible for Pietersen's promotion to the top job. It was his match-winning century that precipitated Michael Vaughan's resignation, starting a chain of events that will conclude with them walking out together for the toss on Thursday.
Smith still does not warm up to Pietersen, saying yesterday that their relationship was based on "a mutual respect in terms of performance - and that's as far as it goes".
"I will say one thing - that the captaincy will make him think twice about playing a shot like that again," Smith suggested yesterday, in reference to the glory-seeking straight hit that landed in the hands of AB de Villiers.