Dubai: When Quetta Gladiators will take on Karachi Kings in their first match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Friday, all eyes will be on the flamboyant former England batsman Kevin Pietersen.
He has bid an emotional goodbye to cricket through his Instagram with a photo of him hugging his son with the words: “Countless goodbyes to @jessicalibertyx & my kids as a cricket player & this one this evening is the last one I’ll ever have to do. I’ve hated every goodbye but also known it’s work so just gotten on with it. The journey has been absolutely amazing & for the next 3/4 weeks I’ll be a current professional & then it’s chapter closed! Had my time & loved it but the endless goodbyes & travel needs to calm down now. Cricket has been the best!”
Speaking to Gulf News, Pietersen once hailed PSL as an academy of learning saying: “PSL is an academy of learning for youngsters in terms of international players, to see standards that are required, to win friendships, to develop their games. Our guys in the team are certainly full of questions. In the dressing room, on team bus they all ask questions about batting and bowling. I like to associate with youngsters.”
Pietersen had also inspired many domestic cricketers especially the Al Nabooda Insurance Brokers (ANIB) team. ANIB backs KP24 Foundation, the charity foundation set up by Pietersen. He once told domestic cricketers who slip out of form to “focus on practice as form as well as out of form is a cycle and by practice one can easily regain form.”
In the second edition of the PSL at Sharjah Stadium, Pietersen had given a masterclass on class and form through a whirlwind unbeaten 88 for Gladiators to make Lahore Qalandars’ impressive total of 200 for 3 look too small as Quetta Gladiators sailed to a five-wicket win with seven balls to spare.
Pietersen after falling out with England Cricket Board resulting in being sidelined by the team went on to become a superstar in domestic T20 cricket leagues around the world. During the Big Bash League in Australia, Pietersen had announced that it was his last stint in Australia’s popular T20 league and was the first hint of ending his cricketing career.
Cricket fans here are hoping that Pietersen plays many good knocks during his final hurrah on the pitch.