Controversial South African-cum-English cricket Kevin Pietersen is heading home, signing for the South African Twenty20 competition in October and November this year.
PIetersen will play for the Dolphins in the “Ram Slam” Twenty20 Challenge before another stint with the Melbourne Stars. The Dolphins are based in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, where Pietersen was born.
With his Test comeback hopes gone, KP has to console himself by travelling the T20 circuit. Never the greatest team player, KP is the epitome of the new global freelance cricketer, travelling from one T20 tournament to the next.
KP’s 104-match Test career was shrouded by controversy, often overshadowing his belligerent batting talent. Pietersen rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way, including – crucially – Andrew Strauss. The former England captain, now Director of Cricket, denied Pietersen a coveted Ashes comeback despite a triple century for Surrey.
Despite his “Walking Ego” reputation, Pietersen impressed for the Stars last year as the BBL’s second-highest run scorer (293 at 41.86). While not as popular as former teammate Freddie Flintoff (who would later win the Australian version of “I’m a Celebrity….’), his strong performance for the Stars showed fans what he can do if he puts the ego away. While his aggressive batting was a liability in Test cricket (some of his dismissals smacked of self-absorbed arrogance), it’s perfect for T20.
Regardless of his performance, Pietersen’s experience will be a boon for the Dolphins, who have won just one T20 title (2013-14) in the tournament’s 12-year history.