Kevin Pietersen believes his new teammate Rilee Rossouw will be under pressure to score runs after parting ways with Cricket South Africa.
Rossouw’s cricketing u-turn has found him in the air-conditioned world of Dubai. Beaches and shopping malls are the order of the day over there. Surprisingly, so is cricket.
The 27-year-old’s CSA contract was moved to the Gmail trash folder after he let Russell Domingo and Co know of his Kolpak move to Hampshire via email. The downside is that it’s effectively put an abrupt stop to his international career, yet it has also opened up a host of T20 opportunities. It all starts in the United Arab Emirates for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League.
He’ll be joining a South African counterpart at the Gladiators … sort of … when they line up to face Lahore Qalandars tonight.
Kevin Pietersen admits he’s never met him, but the start of Rossouw’s global T20 journey is a crucial one, as he looks to place himself on the map and on the larger auction tables, with the CSA restrictions no longer a factor when it comes to the decisions he wants to make for his family. The pressure, says Pietersen, will be on Rossouw to make that immediate impact.
‘I don’t know Rilee; I don’t think I’ve met him,’ Pietersen admits to SACricketmag.com. ‘But it’s always nice to have a South African voice in the team.
‘He’ll be under pressure, but it will be a chance to show how good a player he is,’ Pietersen continues.
‘If he scores runs, it will give him peace of mind because he’s a good player and it will open up more opportunities.’
The PSL is unique in that travelling is minimal, and the 36-year-old is looking forward to keeping his feet on the ground.
‘It’s a wonderful league; I play all of them and this is one of the best,’ Pietersen says. ‘The best part is that there’s no travel involved, which has a big impact on a player’s mind when they know they don’t need to keep getting on a plane.’
On paper, the Karachi Kings look to be Pietersen and Rossouw’s biggest threat to lifting silverware in the United Arab Emirates. They boast the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Shoaib Malik, as well as last year’s Player of the Tournament, Ravi Bopara. Pietersen is quick to shrug off the competition.
‘It doesn’t matter how good they are on paper,’ he says. ‘Anything can happen on the day. There’s a lot of talent and reputations in that team, but things can change very quickly. That’s the nature of T20 cricket.’
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