THE KP LEGACY
Having ‘done it all’ in the game, the Pune star is looking at grooming the youngsters. And that’s what he wants to be proud of
Two towering sixes in his brief fifteen minute stay at the wicket and it was apparent to one and all at the Wankhede in Mumbai on Saturday that Kevin Pietersen is in ominous touch. One of the best players of the last decade, Pietersen has had the most intriguing career of all. Dropped from the England team for reasons other than cricket, you still tend to question if Andrew Strauss is indeed doing the right thing by keeping him out of the England team. Pietersen, however, seems to have moved on.
“When I look back at my career, whenever it may have started many years ago I tend to feel I have done it all and had my moments. Now it is time to give back to the game by spending as much time as possible with the youngsters. It gives me great satisfaction to see the youngsters grow and if I can contribute to their growth it will be a legacy I will be proud off”, says KP.
To hear the words ‘whenever my career may have started’ makes you feel slightly awkward. How can KP forget his debut series, which made him an overnight star? England had won the Ashes after years and Pietersen was the toast of the British cricket establishment. But that’s what KP is all about. Intrigue. And perhaps more intrigue.
So, it of great interest to know if Pietersen has the same level of motivation left when he approaches the many T-20 leagues in different parts of the world? Does he have his own expectations or is it all about enjoying the game now?
“I don’t do expectations. Never have. All I want to do is go out there and enjoy the game, try and contribute to my team the Rising Pune Super Giants and spend time with the younger players. If I am able to contribute to the team I will feel I have done my bit.”
KP, always a man of strong views makes no qualms about the fact that Test cricket is in dire need of innovation. When asked if T-20 is indeed the future, Pietersen, a purist, had this to say, “If you see the success of the T-20 leagues around the world you have to agree people are enjoying this format. The world T-20 is yet another example. And except England Test matches are going empty in most parts of the world. As a purist I do feel concerned and think the ICC needs to bring in more in- novations to ensure Test cricket continues to be relevant. When the first Day Night Test match was played in Adelaide it was a very successful experiment. However, as a player I’d not want to play in twilight because when the light changes it makes it very hard for the batsman. But as entertainers we have a responsibility to entertain the spectators and it may well be that Day-night Test cricket is the way forward.”
Pietersen, picked up for a little more than Rs 3cr in the auction by Pune, is all praise for the IPL. When asked as to how does the IPL manage to find new bands of supporters, Pietersen maintains that the IPL has played a very important role in improving player relations across the world. “When you are sharing a dressing room with someone for close to three months, you tend to develop a certain bonding with the player. He becomes a mate and it is impossible to suddenly turn against him or sledge him when you are playing for your national team. The IPL has brought players from across the world together and in that sense has done great for world cricket. At the same time it has not reduced competition. You always want to be one up on your mate. This makes the IPL that much more competitive and exciting.”
Make no mistake Pietersen is a f lawed genius. In fact, every person born with talent extraordinaire will have his own issues. Pietersen does as well. However, the KP playing in IPL 2016 wishes to be remembered as the cricketer who has entertained us for years.
But will that satisfy the scores of KP fans and those who have forever wanted to decode the man? For example, as analysts it is important for us to know how he had made it all possible? What made him tick? Why did he make England his home and tattoo the three lions on his body? How did he play that magical innings of 158 in 2005 against the Australians winning back the Ashes after 19 years?
While he himself doesn’t want to be quizzed on these issues, suffice to say he still has the power to entertain and enthral - the six of Harbhajan Singh could only be hit by someone with extraordinary cricketing talent. RPSG, the IPL as a tournament and Indian fans should enjoy watching him for as long as he is around.
Pietersen (L) & Ricky Ponting stare at each other before the Pune-Mumbai match The fans should enjoy watching him for as long as he is around