Cricket

/ News

Powered by ESPNCricinfo
  • Caribbean Premier League

KP plans 5,000-mile T20 commute

David Hopps
March 29, 2014 « Wenger: I could walk away | Test Wayin World Cup »
Kevin Pietersen will clock up the air miles this summer © PA Photos
Enlarge

Kevin Pietersen plans to play simultaneously in two Twenty20 competitions in England and the Caribbean as he becomes the ultimate jet-set commuter in his attempts to keep his career alive after his exclusion from the England side.

The age of the itinerant T20 cricketer has been upon us for a few years, but Pietersen has taken it a stage further by seeking to play in England's relaunched NatWest Blast tournament and the Caribbean Premier League at the same time.

‏@KP24 - the Twitter handle which has now carries Pietersen's pronouncements, official and unofficial, on life, the universe and everything - promised: "I will be fulfilling ALL my @surreycricket commitments and just flying into the Caribbean to honour this opportunity."

It remains to be seen, though, if this regular 4000-miles-plus commute has a beneficial effect on his ability to hit a cricket ball in the area to which it is intended, especially as his regular diet of in-flight meals would not be countenanced by the England cookbook. Just think, some people can become disorientated by a daily commute from Paddington to East Croydon.

And, at least if the Kia Oval and the Caribbean are more than 4,000 miles apart that is nothing compared to the distance between England and Pietersen when it came to a meeting of minds.

If Pietersen is fortunate when the draft is finalised in a bar owned by Chris Gayle in Jamaica on Thursday, he will at least have a direct flight. As he indulged in a spot of repartee on Twitter with Gayle about whether they would be team-mates or opponents, it was a decent bet that he had not considered the possibility that he might yet be signed by Guyana Amazon Warriors: now that would add a few hours to the journey time.

Surrey, who are heavily promoting their T20 campaign around Pietersen's involvement, were quick to confirm that his ambitious plans have their full blessing.

Richard Gould, the chief executive, said: "Kevin is available for all our T20 fixtures once he gets back from the IPL in late May or early June. There are a couple of windows within our T20 season which coincides with the CPL where he can go out for the CPL, play some games there and still be available for all our games. We thought it was a good grown-up decision.

Everybody knows that grown-ups like flying. Children grow up wanting to be engine drivers.

His journey will be nearly three times as long as the match - although that distinction might lessen if over-rates keep sinking.

Pietersen initially chose Surrey - and the NatWest Blast - ahead of the CPL as he rebuilt his career following England's unparalleled decision to terminate his contract so publically after their 5-0 whitewash in Australia.

He first broached the possibility of playing both tournaments, according to Gould, "two or three weeks ago." He held discussions with Surrey's new head coach, Graham Ford, an early mentor in South Africa, and their director of cricket Alec Stewart.

Although factual enough, that is slightly misleading. He will play in the CPL on a "secondment clause" in his Surrey contract which allows a temporary change or relocation of position and duties. The clause was in there for a reason. It remains unconfirmed whether Surrey will also benefit from the arrangement.

"He is contracted for all the T20 fixtures," Gould said. "His contract allows him to play championship cricket and 50-overs cricket subject to his availability and we will see how that goes during the season."

The CPL is scheduled to run from July 5 to August 10. In that time, Surrey play their final five group matches in the space of a fortnight - all of which Pietersen has vowed to play.

They have a home match against Glamorgan on Friday, July 11, the day after CPL launches (pads strapped on at Heathrow?), further matches on the Wednesday and Friday of the following week and then two games in 24 hours - a derby against Middlesex on Thursday, July 24, and a short trip to Canterbury (a mere bagatelle for a hardened traveller like Pietersen) to play Kent the following day.

Before all this, Pietersen has agreed to captain the Delhi Daredevils in the upcoming Indian Premier League.

It would be difficult to travel further afield to ply his trade. The Times recorded the discovery of a new planet far beyond Pluto today - temporarily answering to the name of 2012 VP113 - but nobody is entirely sure whether the Inner Oort Cloud has yet to catch on to Twenty20.

"I'm delighted to be involved in this year's Caribbean Premier League," Pietersen said. "As soon as I was approached, I knew it was something I wanted to take part in. I have fantastic memories of playing T20 cricket in the Caribbean -- especially when we won the 2010 ICC World T20 tournament -- so I can't wait to play in front of the magnificent Caribbean fans who create a truly unique and thrilling atmosphere."

Pietersen's rejection by England has encouraged such open displays of affection. The love is spread upon all-comers. It remains to be seen whether it will be spread too thinly. If he pulls it off, there will be a few people envious of his air miles.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Close