Former England spinner Ashley Giles left the post in the wake of the team’s 4-0 defeat to Australia, with Sir Andrew Strauss currently in the job on a temporary basis.
The former striker Key, who played 21 matches for England between 2002 and 2009, is believed to have applied for the position along with former national selector Ed Smith and Durham director of cricket Marcus North.
Last week, Strauss said England are running a ‘tick close’ to appoint the right team to lead the Test squad, and Pietersen believes Key would be a valuable asset to the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Pietersen told Betway: ‘The ECB is trying to rectify the mess, which is the English test site at the moment.
‘They are looking for a CEO to reset English cricket and I think Rob Key, who has been linked with the role, would be perfect for that.
‘When he knows him like I do, especially from sitting around in the comments section with him, he has a very good cricket brain and handles people very well.
‘He understands situations and I think he would be a very smart operator.
‘Everyone knows my views on the structure of English cricket and how to change it. I believe Rob Key would be willing to make the big decisions and have a clear idea of what cricket should look like in this country.
‘It’s the structure that needs to change. I do not care who the captain is, I do not care who the coach is. No one would do better than Joe Root or Paul Collingwood with this crowd of players.
‘The reset should start at the ECB’s offices, not at the cricket ground.’
In addition to appointing a director of cricket, England must also name a new permanent coach Chris Silverwood was cut off in the wake of the Ashes thrashing.
Strauss said: ‘We are making progress with that and we are obviously very aware that there is a ticking clock, both in terms of appointing a director of cricket and then of course the coach – or potentially coaches – on the back of it .
The ambition is definitely to have the test coach in place for this summer’s first test [against New Zealand in June].
‘In recruitment, there are all sorts of moving pieces, including notice periods, and I do not think we can say that categorically, but that is the ambition.’
England have only won one of their last 17 Tests and lost to the Caribbean after the Ashes loss. Joe Root is under intense control but looks set to continue as captain despite his team’s gloomy form.
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