''In my opinion he's an artist, because it isn't just anybody who can go out and do things like that. When I first came to England there were lots of people who used to say 'Viv hits across the line','' Richards told The Daily Mail.
''Now there's an English guy who is doing the same and everyone loves it because he is scoring runs,'' he added.
In his first 25 Tests, the 26-year-old flamboyant right-hander has scored 2,448 runs at an average of 54.4, second only to Sir Don Bradman who scored 3,194 runs at an average of 91.2.
But inspite of his tremendous run, he still continued to linger at the third position in the world rankings, as Australia's World Cup winning captain Ricky Ponting and Pakistan's most dependable middle-order batsman Mohammad Yousuf are occupying the top two spots.
However, issuing a warning bell to the bowlers, Richards, said, ''He (Pietersen) is on the path to greatness. Sometimes when I played a certain shot it would take the bowler's breath away and I think he's doing the same sort of thing.'' ''He can hit the ball where he wants and that's what batsmanship is about. He can improvise and he is not constricted by where the ball is bowled,'' he added.