Sharjah: Kevin Pietersen has termed ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) an ‘academy of learning’ for young people. The legendary England batsman, here as a Quetta Gladiator, is inspiring not only players of his own team but also youngsters of other teams.
Responding to a query from Gulf News about his experience so far, especially with the Quettas, Pietersen said: “Before I came here I didn’t even know of too many names in the side. But ever since I have arrived, I have been very impressed with how they’ve trained, watched them in practice and how competitive they have been. What have really impressed me is how well Pakistan boys have fielded.
“I think the standard of cricket, in terms of fielding, has been marvellous. I have played against Pakistan in One-day Internationals and Tests for 10 years, but their fielding has never been as good as this before. What India did, Australia did and what Caribbeans are doing, this 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.”
When asked whether his team, which has produced splendid performances so far to top the table, will emerge as the champions of the league, he felt it’s better to enjoy T20 cricket without worrying about the result. “Firstly, you have to understand that you are never unbeatable in T20 cricket. We can finish top of the lot and can have one bad day and I will be back in London the next day. If you have a good day, we may play the final, but can lose the final. I don’t worry about results. I worry about the process of getting the outcome and ready to go. There is a game tomorrow and there is game on Tuesday. Still semi-finals ahead and anything can happen that is T20 cricket.”
Pietersen then went on to hail Quetta’s head coach, Moin Khan, and his skipper, Sarfraz Ahmad. “Moin is wonderful. What he does well is he is very relaxed, in an environment where you have lots of cricketers coming together for a short space of time. You cannot afford to have a coach that drills, drills, drills and grills. You need to have a person who can gel the team together, create a happy team, enjoy the environment, let players do what they want to, understand how they benefit the team, and let them just enjoy themselves.
“Moin sits there with no pads, no notes, nothing. He is very articulate and clever in his cricketing sense. If he needs to say something, he is very clever and wise, and will point something out. His coaching is magnificent, very relaxed, let all of us do whatever we want and the results are showing.”
About captain Ahmad, Pietersen said: “Sarfraz is absolutely brilliant. The way he rotates strike in terms of bowlers from each end and the brains he has got, deciphering field placings is special. His ability to ask anybody in the field is a wonderful skill because not many captains sometimes like to seek inputs from younger players as well as the seniors. This is brilliant for the team.”