England batsman Kevin Pietersen played with and against several stars during the Indian Premier League. His time at the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Deccan Chargers, Rising Pune Supergiants and Delhi Daredevils yielded plenty of experience with the game’s global elite.
His stint as Royal Challengers Bangalore captain, though, was arguably the most lucrative – financially and experience-wise – alongside South African trio AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher and Dale Steyn.
“Being able to have Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Steyn, Boucher and a young Virat Kohli – just to name a few – was something that, as a foreign player, you just put your hands together, lick your lips and say, ‘Right guys, let’s go out there and do the business.’ There wasn’t much talking you need to do. You just had to strategically position players in certain places and keep all those guys happy,” Pietersen recalled during an interview with Betway Cricket.
“Nothing compares to the IPL in India. Every, single friend of mine is like, ‘I’d love to watch a game in India.’ I say, ‘Don’t talk about it, just do it.’ There is nothing more spectacular, nothing more gripping, nothing more captivating.
“There is no greater form of entertainment in the game that going to watch a match at a bumping Wankhede Stadium or a full Feroz Shah Kotla – or when in Chennai and Mahendra Singh Dhoni comes out to bat. Those partnerships between de Villiers and Kohli at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore – there is just nothing like it in this sport.”
Steyn has retired from Test cricket. De Villiers has stopped playing all international cricket. He might, however, return for the Proteas ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. Steyn and de Villiers will be involved in the IPL again this year. Both are due to represent Bangalore, provided the tournament goes ahead. The start of the IPL has been postponed from 29 March to 15 April amid preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mumbai Indians are the reigning champions. They have won the title four times – and boast the services of South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock.