Cricket News

Kevin Pietersen: What the IPL means to me

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has spoken out on his experiences in the Indian Premier League.

Pietersen valued his time in the IPL and the unique learnings that came with it, saying it shaped him as a cricket.

IPL career was a great time for him that came with plenty of learning along the way and different experiences that helped him grow as a cricketer over the years and into the player he was.

He was made the highest-paid player in IPL history when he was bought for £1.1m in 2009 by Royal Challengers Bangalore before going on to represent Delhi Daredevils and Rising Pune Supergiants.

Pietersen reflected on his IPL journey to Betway.

“You could learn from the greats of the game and understand how they practiced, how they approached games, how they were in team meetings, how thorough they were, how meticulous they were in everything that they did,” Pietersen said.

He noted the pressures that came with being the highest paid player at the time but also took it in his stride. Holding such a title meant there was a bit of a chip on his shoulder to perform better.

“It came with added responsibilities and added pressures.

“When you’re walking in there and the music is banging, everyone is shouting and jumping and ‘walking in for number 3 for RCB is the world’s most expensive buy in the IPL auction’ and you’re just there thinking sheesh okay, okay, okay, right you’re not just walking out to Lords or the MCG or in Barbados as England’s number 4, you’re now that iconic player.”

Pietersen captained both Bangalore and Delhi and scored over 1,000 runs in 37 IPL matches as one of the league’s most celebrated and decorated players. 

He said one of the highlights of his time in the IPL was playing alongside star Indian batsman Virender Sehwag.

“Batting with the likes of Sehwag, I mean, that was an eye opener. Just the careless, free spirit that he is.

“Seeing the bowlers run up to him and he just goes pinga, ponga, panga, he just whacks them all over the place and some of the most fun experiences on the cricket field were with Virender Sehwag. Just a super man.”

Pietersen said he something special in Indian captain Virat Kohli from a young age.

“Sitting on the bus and batting with Virat, I knew he was destined for greatness because of the way he approached the game, the way he learnt, the questions that he asked.

“His determination to be the best player he could possibly be was evident.

“You could see that youngster who was destined and determined to get his team over the line and he wasn’t going to just give his wicket away.

“It didn’t matter how many tests i had played or how much more senior i was in the game, we do have an incredible friendship because I think of maybe the way I treated him as a youngster and guided him at the start of his career.”

The Englishman said no other cricket experience compares to the IPL and its atmosphere

“Nothing compares to the IPL in India.

“There is nothing more spectacular. Nothing more gripping. Nothing more captivating. There is no greater entertainment in the game than coming to watch a bumping Wankhede Stadium or a full Feroz Shah Kotla, or Chenai when M.S Dohni comes out to bat.

“Those partnerships between De Villiers and Kohli down in the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, there is just nothing like it in the sport.”