Pietersen: Dravid was a ‘genuine guru’ for me

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen’s book launch has been mostly negative in the media, but one positive aspect has been the revelation that India legend Rahul Dravid played a big role in Pietersen’s batting.

The South Africa-born player did not have a good record against spin bowling for much of his career, but wrote in his book that Dravid helped him a lot, via emails and private conversations, and was a real ‘guru’ for him.

KP wrote: “Rahul was a great and heroic Indian batsman in his day. He is also a genius at dealing with spin bowlers. Our conversations and emails were a private masterclass from a genuine guru.

“Rahul improved my cricket and helped me develop the way I think about the game. His generosity will stay with me always.”

Pietersen revealed some bits of the emails, with Dravid apparently writing: “KP, you are a really good player, you need to watch the ball and trust yourself…

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t play spin, I have seen you and you can!”

Pietersen wrote of the effect it had on his batting: “My playing of spin has gone up a number of levels since I’ve spent time in the IPL, and in particular, since I’ve spoken to Rahul Dravid.

“In England, batsmen get taught to play with the spin against spin bowlers. In India, the best players of spin get taught to play against it.”

The batsman also said that the IPL and India’s general style of play suited his mindset, as they were not as worried about being conservative: “There is a culture in India that appreciates if you double down and go for the big shot.

“It’s a game of cricket, not economics. Not life or death. Take a risk. IPL crowds don’t want to see you batting out singles as you pick and choose which balls to hit. Life is too short.”