England captain Kevin Pietersen’s stance to show solidarity with India after the Mumbai terror attacks is likely to earn him a lucrative offer for a seemingly impressed business tycoon Vijay Mallya for his IPL franchise Bangalore Royal Challengers.
“I have always been interested in English cricketers and nothing has changed on that front. The fact they are happy to return so soon after the terrorist attacks speaks volumes but does not distort my view about how useful they could be in my team,” said Mallya.
Next auction of players for IPL franchises would be in February.
The liquor baron, who also owns an airline and a Formula One team, said to return for the Test series was a very positive statement made by the England team which would be widely appreciated in India.
“The gesture of going back to play in India will be very appreciated by cricket fans in India. It is a positive statement that everyday life in India can survive terrorist attacks. There will be a lot of people cheering for the England team and showing their appreciation over the next couple of weeks,” Mallya said.
Another IPL owner, who requested anonymity, described Pietersen as being “able to name his own price” following his statement last week of his team’s desire to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the Indian people.
Reports also said Pietersen had forged a close friendship with Mallya, with whom the England skipper was seen dining out on more than one occasion during the One-day series that was aborted after the Mumbai terrorist attacks with England trailing 0-5.