KP: IPL came with added responsibilities and extra pressures

Several England stars have represented many franchises in the Indian Premier League since the start in 2008.

From fast bowler Tom Curran and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler nowadays to batsman Eoin Morgan and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff back then, there have been many Englishman in the IPL. The highest profile of these, though, is arguably Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen represented five IPL franchises – the Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils, Rising Pune Supergiants, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Most of his time in the IPL was spent with Bangalore and Delhi. He played 19 matches for the former and 13 for the latter. He captained both franchises as well.

“People are not stupid. The owners of the franchises are not dumb. They don’t just say, ‘We will give you a million bucks because you look like a cool dude. You warranted your price tag because of how good you were. That gave you a lot of confidence and some sort of stature in the game,” Pietersen recalled during an in-depth interview with Betway Cricket.

“It came with added responsibilities and extra pressures. The announcer announces you onto the field and normally you are walking out to bat at Lord’s. The announcer would say something like, ‘Good afternoon, everybody. The next batsman for England is number four Kevin Pietersen. Then it’s either boos, cheers or whatever.

“However, in India, you walk into bat there and the music is banging, everyone is shouting and jumping. ‘Walking in at number three for RCB is the world’s most expensive buy at the IPL auction.’ You stand there thinking, ‘Okay, you’re not just walking out to bat at Lord’s, the MCG or Barbados for England. You’re now that iconic player in the IPL.’

“You could learn from the greats of the game at the IPL. You could learn from how they practised, how they spoke, how they approached games, how they were in team meetings, how thorough they were and how meticulous they were in everything they did – like padding up and what they talked about before going out to bat.”

The hard-hitting Pietersen played professional T20 cricket as recently as 2018, during stints with the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League and Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League.

Prior, he relished a decade-long international career from 2004 to 2014. The talented right-hander amassed more than 13,000 runs across 104 Tests, 136 ODIs and 37 T20Is.