Can Kevin Pietersen be an IPL hit?

April 16, 2009 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Kevin Pietersen coasted his way to IPL history without even taking to the field. He became the IPL’s most expensive player, along side Andrew Flintoff, commanding a fee of £1.3m. Before the tournament even starts Kevin Pietersen has a huge price tag to live up to. The Royal Bangalore Challengers were clearly pleased with their multi million dollar purchase but can KP live up to expectations?

The IPL will get underway on April 18 after being relocated to South Africa. For Kevin Pietersen the relocation comes as a boost as it takes him back to where he grew up, and where he terrorised his birth country with England on many occasions. His Twenty20 record isn’t the best in the England team. An average of 26.78 is decent but he has only passed 50 on one occasion, against Zimbabwe. In 15 matches, he has scored 375 runs but never does he look at his commanding best. In the shortest format of the game, Pietersen never looks comfortable. He doesn’t get the time to get himself in, with the fast paced of the format. He’s got all the strokes to score at a quick pace, but has struggled to up the scoring rate, owing to his inability to hit over the top in this format. It is not because he can’t; it is because he is a player that needs to get into the rhythm before he can hit over the in field.

A Pietersen of four or five years ago would have taken this format by storm. However, with the more test matches he plays, he gears his attitude to be efficient in this format, with his natural instincts to hit over the top taking a back seat. As time went on his focus shifted to being England’s best test player, a feat he has since achieved but at a price of his aggressive attitude. His emergence in England’s One day team brought the aggressive attitude that England have missed in the ODI format, now his wide array of shots reduce the need for the big shots. He will no doubt be helped by returning to the conditions in which he grew up in. However, he didn’t enjoy the best of times in the Twenty20 World cup which was held here and must be desperate to prove a point. His form in South Africa in ODI cricket is of a man at the top of his game. Averaging 151.33 in South Africa, including 3 50s and a hundred.

He enters the IPL tournament in a barren spell of poor form. Struggling to show the form that took him to the top of the ODI rankings. Although, that form can be blamed on home sickness, something that shouldn’t be such a problem here. Even so, he hasn’t looked comfortable at the crease and is getting out to poor shot selection. This also presents a chance for Pietersen to get away from the England set up. There are obviously still tensions and bitterness from KP to the England management and a spell away will allow him to clear his head. This also comes with the great responsibility of captaincy, which he has undertaken for his franchise. A move sure to get the best out of one of the worlds greatest players but not yet the best Twenty20 player.


Entry filed under: Cricket.

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