Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has revealed that he will no longer play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) due to his hectic schedule.
Pietersen opted out of this year’s IPL for the same reason and confirmed that he will only commentate during the star-studded event going forward.
“The IPL comes at the end of my schedule,” he told Wisden India. “So I’m playing for Surrey now, in August-September. Then I play in South Africa in November, into December. I play in Australia all of December and all of January. Then I play the Pakistan Super League in February-March. So can’t play in India, it’s too long.
“I’m done playing (in the IPL), but I can commentate. The reason why I commentate is I go for one week, come home for two weeks, then I come back for a week and home for two weeks. When you’re a player, you’re there the whole time, you’re everywhere… I can’t do that.”
Continuing on about the IPL, Pietersen admitted that he was glad the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) gave a plethora of England players the green light to participate in the event this year.
During his international career, the 36-year-old was heavily criticised for voicing his opinion about the advantages of playing in the IPL. While it was one of the factors that led to him being sacked by the ECB, Pietersen is pleased that the board has softened their stance on the tournament.
“Exactly, and now I have to play all these leagues,” he said. “But it’s fine. I’m very happy with the fact that they’ve eventually come to their senses. But yeah, got me into all my trouble I suppose! But it’s good.
“I’m lucky to have these T20 tournaments where I can still produce on the big stage. This is the environment I have been in since 2008. It is the environment that got me in trouble with all the big bosses, this is the environment where it is now being applauded and they are willing to risk injuries for players to participate for the experience.
“I came back from that first IPL, that second IPL and I was promoting it, and saying ‘We’ve got to get more English guys into these set-ups’. I was painted as the bad guy and I’m totally cool with it because the public can see the picture that is now being rolled out. It is nice to see the youngsters, (Chris) Woakes going out there, (Ben) Stokes going out there. It was absolutely fantastic.”
Meanwhile, Pietersen received little support from the cricketing community in England after he was given the boot after the 2013/14 Ashes series in Australia, where England were whitewashed 5-0.
However, one man who stood behind Pietersen was ex-pace bowler Stephen Harmison, who wrote in his autobiography that the ECB had “hung him out to dry”.
“I spoke to him after and said ‘That is really kind, thank you’ and he said it was just a pity no one else has come out and said it,” Pietersen said. “But it is water under the bridge, it was a long time ago. I don’t want to go over old stories and old stuff because it’s gone, it’s done and dusted.
“I’ve enjoyed some of my best batting days in Australia at the Big Bash, playing in the PSL, playing for Surrey. I got that triple-hundred for Surrey, I’ve had some of my real good days of batting. But it is what it is.”
When asked if he has any plans to don the England jersey again, Pietersen said: “All gone man, all gone. I just play golf now and whack it in T20 cricket. No, I’m good, I’m good.”