Thursday Feb 16, 2017
One of the biggest disappointments so far in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League has been Kevin Pietersen’s struggle with the bat.
The England great, known for his destructive batting in T20s, has failed to deliver in the three matches Quetta Gladiators have played so far. He scored 3 in the first match and got out on a golden duck two times in a row.
As dismal as that is, it is still a rough patch the batsman is going through and it is high time he got back to his destructive self that his fans have come to know him for.
Meanwhile, let’s focus on how the Gladiators, especially the youngsters in the team, can still benefit from the T20 veteran’s presence on and off the field.
Pietersen, who no longer plays international matches, nevertheless enjoys remarkable averages in all formats of the game. He has an average of 47.28 in Tests, 40.73 in ODIs and 37.93 in T20Is. His average for all T20 competitions stands at 34.38.
Pietersen played an important role in the Gladiators’ almost successful run to the championship in last year’s PSL, where they lost to Islamabad United in the final. Currently, he is fresh off the back of his stint in the Big Bash League, where he again contributed big to his team Melbourne Stars’ run to the playoffs.
The Gladiators, especially the relatively inexperienced ones among them, have an excellent opportunity to draw inspiration from KP’s wealth of expertise in the shorter format of the game.
More specifically, they can get useful tips from him on how to play aggressively against pace bowlers and withstand the mental pressure – a crucial skill to learn for success in T20s.
Umar Farooq, ESPN Cricinfo correspondent, agrees. “The team should benefit from Pietersen’s skills and experience and learn new skills to use in T20 cricket,” he says.
The Gladiators, led by the energetic Sarfraz Ahmed, have already shown their rivals they are a tough team to beat. They have won two matches out of the three played so far this tournament.
It’s only a matter of time before Pietersen gets back his batting form and gives an additional boost to his side’s batting lineup.