It is but natural for cricketers the world over to be very keen on playing in the IPL. After all, it is the biggest stage as far as money and glamour are concerned. But few have been as enthusiastic about the tournament as Kevin Pietersen. In fact, he had a serious fall-out with his captain Andrew Strauss over the importance of the IPL with the latter firmly of the view that England cricketers should not play the tournament at the cost of Test cricket. This, however, did not stop Pietersen from being one of the regular participants in the tournament and in fact, he played for five teams – Deccan Chargers, Pune Supergiants, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils.
From all accounts Pietersen now in his 40th year continues to be enthusiastic about the IPL. At a time when cricket is hardly on anyone’s mind in the wake of the grave crisis, the coronavirus has caused, he believes that the 13th edition of the vastly popular competition should happen the moment there is a window of opportunity. The IPL was scheduled to commence on March 29 but the outbreak of the pandemic resulted in the start being put off till April 15. With cases on the increase and the death toll rising chances of the event taking place at all look bleak.
That has not stopped the former England captain from proposing a “condensed’’ IPL behind closed doors adding that the fans shouldn’t be risked. He has suggested a July/August start at the earliest. “I truly believe it should happen. I think every single player around the world is desperate to play the IPL,’’ he said. The IPL is important for the players and franchisees but also for the people working behind the scenes and this has not been lost on Pietersen. “There could be a way in which to get some money to the franchisees, into the economy by having a situation where you use maybe three venues which are completely closed to fans and the players can still play the tournament in three or four weeks. It will be a more condensed tournament at three venues which we know are safe,’’ is how he put it.
Getting a bit over-enthusiastic Pietersen said `what would you guys give to watch Mumbai Indians versus Chennai Super Kings right now.’’ Actually right now even the most inveterate cricket follower is not even thinking of the IPL; he has got other more important matters to think about. And given the grim scenario with mega sports events all over the world being called off it surely is only a matter of time before the IPL too is put off or even canceled.