Pietersen plans Caribbean venture

Kevin Pietersen is set to fly in and out of the West Indies from his London base for the Caribbean Premier League. — Picture: BBC
Kevin Pietersen is set to fly in and out of the West Indies from his London base for the Caribbean Premier League. — Picture: BBC

For most cricketers the fact the Caribbean Premier League and its English county Twenty20 equivalent are taking place at the same time would mean playing in both was impossible.
However, England exile Kevin Pietersen is planning to do just that, turning himself into a jet-set player like no other by flying in and out of the West Indies, a commute of thousands of miles, from his London base.

“I will be fulfilling ALL my @surreycricket commitments and just flying into the Caribbean to honour this opportunity,” Pietersen told his Twitter followers on Friday.

Quite how the physical demands of such lengthy airplane flights will affect Pietersen’s form remains to be seen but the South Africa-born shotmaker has built an extraordinary career on defying conventional wisdom.

Despite being England’s leading run-scorer in all international formats, Pietersen saw his international career dramatically terminated after the team’s recent 5-0 Ashes hammering in Australia.

Controversially, the England and Wales Cricket Board refused to cite their specific reasons for ditching Pietersen, referring only to a team “rebuilding” and a need for loyalty to Test captain Alastair Cook.

Since then Pietersen has agreed to captain the Delhi Daredevils in the upcoming Indian Premier League, like the CPL a Twenty20 event, and re-signed for English county side Surrey, where he is available to play in all formats.

“I’m delighted to be involved in this year’s Caribbean Premier League,” Pietersen said Friday after it was announced he would be in the draft for the tournament. As soon as I was approached, I knew it was something I wanted to take part in.

“I have fantastic memories of playing T20 cricket in the Caribbean — especially when we (England) won the 2010 ICC World T20 tournament — so I can’t wait to play in front of the magnificent Caribbean fans who create a truly unique and thrilling atmosphere.”

Pietersen also tweeted his friend Chris Gayle, the dynamic batsman currently opening for the West Indies in the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, saying: “Delighted to enter the Draft for @CPL_T20 next week. Will we be rivals or teammates, @henrygayle?”

The draft, which will see six franchises select from a pool of over 200 players, takes place in a bar owned by Gayle in Jamaica on Thursday.

But the fact the CPL is scheduled for July and August means it will clash with its English county equivalent.

Richard Gould, chief executive of Oval-based Surrey, told the Cricinfo website: “Kevin is available for all our T20 fixtures once he gets back from the IPL in late May or early June.

Gould added: “He is contracted for all the T20 fixtures. His contract allows him to play championship cricket and 50-overs cricket subject to his availability and we will see how that goes during the season.”

Pietersen will be among friends at The Oval with Surrey having hired Graham Ford, who has known him since he was a boy in South Africa, as their new coach. — Reuters.

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