London: Alastair Cook is over 8,000 runs behind Sachin Tendulkar in Test cricket but Kevin Pietersen believes his England captain is on target to challenge the veteran Indian's numbers and break every record that has been set.
"For me he's the right man to lead England, he's doing a great job for us and he will continue to get better and better and break every record anyone's ever set, certainly in the English game. He's on target to go for Tendulkar's numbers, if you look at the numbers and look at his age," Pietersen was quoted as saying in an interview with Darren Gough.
The 28-year-old Cook is 8,313 runs behind the 40-year-old Tendulkar in the overall standings with the Indian's 15837 Test runs being over 2000 more than nearest rival Ricky Ponting, who has retired.
Pietersen lavished praise on Cook for his consistent scoring.
"His first series was against India away and we beat India. He's done exceptionally well, his cricket just keeps getting better and better," he said.
Pietersen also hailed rising batsman Joe Root, who made his debut against India last year.
"I never knew of him, I never heard of him, because when you're on the scene and young players come you just don't. But I knew that he was going to be good when he walked out to bat in Nagpur in his first Test match," he said.
"I was batting and... we just didn't want to let India back into it at all and he walked out and - just his face walking towards me for 20 metres - I thought this kid's going to be a flipping superstar.
"It was just the confidence that he walked out to bat with in his debut Test match in India, two spinners bowling, from each end, we'd just lost a wicket or a couple of wickets and he walked out with a smile on his face, and went 'All right lad, you ok, you're playing well there'," he recalled.
Pietersen backed the youngster, who recently hit the headlines for getting into a bar-room scuffle with Australian David Warner during the Champions Trophy.
"He knew the media were going to be on him all day and he'd had a haircut - he looked sharp! I think he knows how to deal with it," Pietersen said.
"I saw him that day and he couldn't believe what was being made of it, but welcome to English cricket and welcome to how the media works."
Asked about his own volatile relationship with the British media due to controversies, Pietersen said, "I've been burnt too many times and it's just a case of me now concentrating on my cricket and playing my cricket as best I can because that whole situation hurt my family too much. I get it all day every day."
"Somebody asked me yesterday, 'Can you take some constructive criticism?' I said, 'Excuse me? You're talking to somebody who has it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.' So it doesn't affect me, it's water off a duck's back now. I have absolutely no interest in it but it hurt my family and my best mates."
Away from cricket, Pietersen plans to follow star footballer David Beckham into the fashion industry.
"These last three months that I've been injured I've had quite a bit of time on my hands to sort the business side of life out," he said.
"I am heavily involved in a clothing company and a footwear company in India. I've got some different stuff, other things on the horizon that I'm negotiating, talking about and signing off," he added.