M A Stadium pitch not made for T20: Kevin Pietersen
Jammu: Former England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen who is here in Jammu for the Legends League is not impressed by the refurbished Maulana Azad Stadium and considers the wicket not good enough for the shortest format of the game.
“The wicket is not good for T20 cricket,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a practice session on Tuesday.
The commentator described the performance of his country’s national team in the recently concluded World Cup as “terrible” and said he threw his lot behind India in the final against Australia – a wager he eventually lost.
In the final played on November 19, Australia lifted the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup for the sixth time by defeating India.
The 43-year-old, who is here as part of the Legends League T20 cricket season 2, praised the opportunity the league offers to retired players to be on the field again as players.
Six Legends League teams with more than 100 former international players are here for the third leg of the tournament, which is being hosted by the Maulana Azad Stadium, resurrected after a gap of over three decades.
The first of the four matches was played at the 20,000-capacity stadium under floodlights on Monday while the remaining three matches are scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
“It (Jammu) is amazing. I have been travelling a lot in India for the last 20 years and this is my first time in Jammu, looking forward to playing a game (Wednesday) and tomorrow night as well,” Pietersen said ahead of match 2.
“We were being looked after very nicely. The hospitality is as always nowhere seen in the world and the hospitality is magnificent. We had a lovely time,” he said, adding, though he was quite busy with all his work, he freed some time to play golf at the Jammu Tawi golf course on Tuesday.
“I love my golf so I make time for it but unfortunately not much time for anything else. It was very nice to be out, the golf course was for us a nice little four hours outside the hotel which was great,” the cricketer said when asked whether he visited any popular places over the past couple of days.
The former batter seemed a bit downcast by the low-scoring game on Monday and said that the people want to see competitive cricket and see the ex-professionals actually competing.
“The wicket (in the M A Stadium) is not good for T20 cricket. You want to see more runs than see the balls rolling along the ground. Let us see if the wicket is better (for the next match) that will be good. For the teams to finish the game in the 20th over as a few (matches) had gone, it is great for the competition,” he said.
On the World Cup final, he said there was a lot of pressure on the Indian players as they were pitted against a formidable opponent.
“Unfortunately, when you come up against Australia like I have done many times Australia is a formidable competitor and they have the ability to turn up the heat in the final and get the job done.
“They are very very competitive guys and unfortunate for India Australia were brilliant on the field and brilliant with the ball. And when they came out to bat, 230 or 240 was never ever enough,” he said.
Pietersen called his own country’s performance in the World Cup “terrible” and said no one thought it would not reach the final.
“I said before the tournament when India was playing against England in Guwahati that these are the two finalists, no one ever expected what happened to England,” he said.
He said the Legends League has a very “serious momentum.”
“I think there is an opportunity for this league to grow for players to retire a little bit earlier if they finish with IPL and franchise cricket around the world and they do not get the extra contract.
“I think players will be having a look at this league because it is competitive, it is run well and logistically fantastic. So with the competition on offer and the opportunity to play at the highest level, I think that it has got a serious momentum to do well,” he said.