Kevin Pietersen, seen batting here against New Zealand - the team he believes will win the upcoming World Cup - led Stars assistant coach Trent Woodhill to label him
Kevin Pietersen, seen batting here against New Zealand - the team he believes will win the upcoming World Cup - led Stars assistant coach Trent Woodhill to label him "the best under-25 talent I've seen" when he coached him 14 years ago. Gareth Copley / Getty Images

Coach remembers Kevin Pietersen as star in the making

WHEN Melbourne Stars assistant coach Trent Woodhill first laid eyes on the phenomenon that is Kevin Pietersen back in 2001, he knew he was watching a superstar in the making.

Woodhill was coaching at Sydney University then and Pietersen was the overseas player.

The youngster then went on to score 8181 Test runs for England, becoming his country's fifth-leading run scorer.

Pietersen, now 34, is on the outer now at international level after a number of fall-outs with the England hierarchy.

The dashing stroke-maker now makes his living on the Twenty20 circuit, and the Stars, especially Woodhill, will be delighted to have him back from a Christmas break for their must-win Melbourne Derby against the Renegades tonight.

"KP and I first met in 2001 when I was coaching at Sydney University and we became friends," Woodhill told APN.

"He was the first player in 89 years to score 800 runs in a season.

"He's the best under-25 player I've ever seen and I always knew he'd go on to have a brilliant Test career.

"I've bumped into him a bit since then."

Woodhill believes Pietersen is set to have a massive influence at the Stars for the remainder of their BBL 04 campaign.

"You saw how much ability he still has in the first game he played for us (66 off 46 balls against Adelaide)," Woodhill said.

"I've known Kevin for 14 years, and he also brings a calmness and strong belief to this team."

Pietersen recently raised eyebrows - not for the first time - with his World Cup prediction.

He said he believed co-hosts New Zealand would win the tournament, also to be played in Australia, starting February next year.

And Woodhill, who has held a coaching assistant role at the Black Caps and is also David Warner's batting coach, agrees with his good mate Pietersen they'll be hard to beat.

"If guys like Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Jimmy Neesham and Daniel Vettori can fire, New Zealand will go a long way," Woodhill said.


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