New Delhi: Kevin Pietersen, the England and Delhi Daredevils batsman, believes that the IPL is not the menace it is made out to be in the west, especially in his adopted country of England, and that it is not a threat to Test cricket. Speaking to CNN-IBN's sports editor, Gaurav Kalra, Pietersen also said that the IPL should have a stronger English presence.
"It saddens me when I read negative publicity of the IPL in England. I think there should be a window for the IPL to take place because it's a magnificent tournament," said Pietersen in an interview. "There's lot of money issues [and] that I think is what dampens it in England. People think that it's just a money-making racket for individuals but so what? That's just the way it is. Sportsmen get paid. What are you going to do about it?"
Since the advent of the IPL in 2008, there have been several spin-offs such as the Big Bash League and Bangladesh Premier League, and talk of Sri Lankan and Pakistani equivalents. England's domestic Twenty20 is also major tournament that attracts international players, but Pietersen did not think Twenty20 cricket was detrimental to cricket's oldest format. "It [Twenty20] won't take over Test match cricket. I thing Twenty20 cricket's helping Test cricket in a way that people are playing the game faster; therefore, you are getting more results in Test match cricket and results are what fans wants, spectators want, Television wants because the more results the more people watch, the more ratings you get, etc," he said. "I think it will eventually knock one-day cricket over. From the player's perspective and from the spectator's perspective ... that the entertainment package is there for three hours. So in one-day cricket that will happen. But I don't think it has a damaging effect on Test cricket."
The IPL has not seen too many England players participate over the past four seasons, and in IPL 5 there are a handful of English players. Pietersen accepted that England's international and county seasons did clash with the IPL, but wished that more of his team-mates would be signed up. "I'd love to see more English players available for ... well not only available, I would love to see them picked up because I also see some of the games being played at the moment and I just think ... man, up here would have been lot better if the Andersons, Bresnans and Boparas were involved in the IPL," he said. "Bopara wore the Orange Cap for a while when he was at Kings XI. The guys like [Ian] Bell, you've got world class players who are sitting in England now wanting to play the IPL when you've got some second rate Australians getting gigs here.
"So for me, it's sad that I don't have fellow team-mates playing in the IPL and embarking on a magnificent journey here in the subcontinent and it'll help English cricket as well. We've got four Test matches, seven one-day internationals in November, December, January here in the subcontinent. So for the England team, it would be magnificent but I can't do anything about it, I have just got to enjoy it."
Pietersen, who along with Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene joined up with the Delhi squad almost a week after IPL 5 began, vouched for the lucrative tournament as a "great Indian academy." "To come over here and play against a guy like Mahela on a Saturday and to bat with somebody like Mahela on a Tuesday and then bat with a Virender Sehwag ... it's a great experience, even for me and for the youngsters of India. It's a great Indian academy as well for the young Indians. For the international players, we love it as well. It's actually quite a release from our international hectic, pressurized schedule. To come here, have lot of option of training, have lot of optional duties, play Twenty20 cricket, have some fun and enjoyment, it's brilliant. I think it's a fantastic contest."