Kevin Pietersen is one of the most celebrated international cricketers.
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’s 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.
The Ennglishman spoke to Betway about his time in the IPL.
“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.
The pressures that came with being the highest paid player at the time was also a highlight of Pietersen’s time in the IPL, noting that as the highest paid player in the tournament, there was a bit of a chip on his shoulder to do even 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 worlds 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.”
Playing alongside the likes of Indian star batsman Virender Sehwag was also a highlight of his time in the IPL.
“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.”
Virat Kohli was also highlighted as a player that Pietersen saw was destined for greatness even at 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.”
Pietersen had a strong connection with his team during his time in the IPL that even caused him to be in some trouble with the ECB during some test matches.
“You’re very emotionally attached to your team.
“I think that’s what got me into a lot trouble as well with the ECB. I was being pulled back after a couple of weeks with India in the IPL, coming back and I was having one eye on the test match and if my team were playing on that day, I was really into it.”
The atmosphere was arguably Pietersen’s biggest take away from his time in the IPL, stating that nothing in the sport compares to it.
“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.”
Pietersen captained both Bangalore and Delhi, scoring over 1,000 runs in 37 IPL matches in what was a decorated stint in one of the biggest cricket tournaments in the world.