Star England player Kevin Pietersen, who played his last match in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) on Wednesday, called the tournament the ‘best academy’ for youngsters looking to graduate to Test cricket.
The Royal Challengers skipper said he was happy to sign off on a winning note, having beaten Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets, and hoped that the team would bounce back in the tournament.
Pietersen said that he will carry good memories from the tournament and look to return next year.
“I absolutely love this tournament. It is the best academy for youngsters in the world. No coach can teach what the young players are learning here. For these guys who are looking to play Test cricket some day you cannot ask for anything better,” said Pietersen after Challengers ended their four-match losing streak.
Pietersen was the most expensive IPL player along with his England teammate Andrew Flintoff with a price tag of $1.55 million.
After finishing at the bottom of the tournament last year, Royal Challengers team owner Vijay Mallya handed Pietersen the captaincy of the team, replacing Rahul Dravid with him.
Challengers started with a bang, inflicting a huge 75-run loss to defending champions Rajasthan Royals in the first match.
But then they lost the plot and lost some close matches with Pietersen’s own form deserting him.
“It did not go our way in some of those close matches. But the boys did put in everything. Some of these young guys are fantastic. Today the tactics worked for us. Hopefully, the team will bounce back from here.”
“There is still work to do. We need to improve. I am sure the team will use the momentum and take it from here.”
“There were a lot of positives. Boucher and young Shreevats were fantastic.”
Pietersen, who had a tough season this year, having lost the England captaincy after a bitter controversy with the coach, will fly back to England for the series against West Indies.