'Playing to your strengths' - Outspoken cricketer lands TV job
Axed England batsman Kevin Pietersen will work as a television pundit during next month’s World Twenty20 -- raising the prospect of him commenting on his estranged former teammates
The South Africa-born star was dropped from England’s Test side this month and not picked for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka after sending “provocative” text messages allegedly criticising England Test captain Andrew Strauss.
England coach Andy Flower has spoken of “unresolved” issues of trust and respect, with Pietersen reported to be at odds with a number of players in the dressing room as well as Strauss.
The ESPN-Star Sports network, the host broadcasters of the World Twenty20, said Pietersen, 32, will be part of its presentation and analysis team for the September 18-October 7 event.
“We’re delighted that one of the biggest names is part of our team and look forward to hearing the insights of someone who knows the format and knows the current stars inside out,” Peter Hutton, the channel’s managing director, said in a statement.
Pietersen was the man of the tournament when England won the 2010 World Twenty20 in the Caribbean — the first time they had lifted a major piece of International Cricket Council silverware.
The statement quoted Pietersen saying that he was “excited about working with ESPN-Star Sports (and) watching England defend their title.”
He will also play a role in the publicity and promotion of the competition ahead of the tournament, the network added.
Pietersen is expected to speak with Strauss face-to-face after the England captain returns from holiday in a bid to soothe tensions.
But coach Flower said earlier this week that it would be “unrealistic” to expect all problems to be resolved before central England playing contracts are renewed next month.
“To resolve certain issues of trust and mutual respect, it might take longer than that,” Flower had said, raising speculation that Pietersen’s international career might be over.
Flower has insisted that Pietersen’s desire to play the full Indian Premier League season at a reported pay package of $2 million a year had played a major role in the collapse of his relations with England.
“I think it’s fair to say that his issues over being available for the entire IPL have changed his attitude,” the coach said.
Pietersen quit limited-overs cricket earlier this year, possibly with the aim of playing the entire IPL season, whose last two weeks clash with the start of the English domestic season in May.
He subsequently backtracked on his decision and re-affirmed his commitment to representing England in all three formats.