London, Aug 26: Discarded England batsman Kevin Pietersen came out in support of the much blamed Indian Premier League (IPL) saying the cash-rich Twenty20 league is like an academy for foreign players.
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Pietersen, who had IPL stints with Delhi Daredevils, Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore, said it was wrong to blame the IPL for India's humiliating 1-3 Test series loss in England.
"England play an Indian side desperate to turn their tour around after a hammering in the Test series which has led to some commentators taking lazy potshots at the Indian Premier League. It is a cheap shot to blame the IPL and portray the young Indian player as being uncaring about Test cricket.
"I know Virat Kohli will be hurting and I know how happy Murali Vijay was to score a century at Trent Bridge and almost get another one at Lord's. It was a dream come true for all of them to play a Test at Lord's," Pietersen wrote in his column in "The Daily Telegraph".
The former England captain said it hurts these guys every single time they do not score Test runs.
"The problem is they put too much pressure on themselves because they are so desperate to score Test hundreds, and sometimes that desire to be successful is detrimental to their game. For the foreign players the IPL is a fantastic learning academy.
"When we play international cricket in India the conditions are no longer alien to us. Some of us now have home grounds in India, we know the conditions and our opponents. For the Indian players it means they are colleagues and opponents of the best players in the world," he said.
Pietersen said what is not helping India away from home in Test cricket is not the IPL but the lack of opportunities for playing cricket abroad, which is a huge negative in terms of progression outside India.
"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has stopped its players appearing in Twenty20 competitions because it does not want to add broadcast value to tournaments that rival the IPL. Fine. But it has to loosen its stance on players appearing in first-class domestic competitions abroad if it wants to build a successful Test team. Send players away to spend time in county cricket or the southern hemisphere.
"This does not apply just to batsmen. Indian bowlers need to learn the lengths they have to bowl in Australia, South Africa or England. The opportunities are there for every player. We would welcome them in England, they just need to be encouraged to look beyond their home country," he said.