Kevin Pietersen becomes first non-Indian to deliver MAK Pataudi Memorial lecture for BCCI

Sudhir Gupta 17:51 13/06/2018
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Pietersen ahead of delivering the lecture. Image - BCCI/Twitter.

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen became the first player outside India to deliver the annual MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

The annual lecture has previously only been delivered by former India players including Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble.

The 37-year-old started the lecture off by thanking the BCCI for giving him the honour of becoming the first non-Indian to deliver the lecture.

“To be completely honest with you, I am still a little overwhelmed to have been asked to speak following the great and the good of Indian cricket who have given this lecture over the past five years,” Pietersen stated.

“Seriously though, to be the first overseas cricketer to give this lecture, it feels nothing less than incredible. I believe there are those in the local media who met the news of my selection using words a little stronger than incredible!”

The South Africa-born star took the opportunity to exalt the virtues of Test cricket in his speech.

“Let’s make Test cricket a spectacle. Garnish it with colour and fireworks. Fill the grounds. Play in the evenings. Give the umpires microphones to broadcast to the spectators,” he said.

“Allow sledging – as long as it remains the right side of the line. Communicate better with the fans,” he added.

The flamboyant batsman also had some words of advice for the Afghanistan cricket team before their inaugural Test against India which gets underway on Thursday at Bengaluru.

Speaking to Test cricket’s latest entrants, Pietersen asked, “What does it take to succeed in a Test match? What makes it different from the other forms of the game in which you have already excelled?”

“For me, it’s the ability to take your lessons from the nets into the heat of battle.

“It’s the determination to prepare, practise and give 100 per cent commitment to everything away from the game. I appreciate that’s quite lot to ask for before Thursday! But I know some of you personally and you have been demonstrating those qualities and that application for a long time now.”

Over the course of his career, Pietersen played 136 Tests, 136 ODIs and 37 T20Is for England and is the country’s fifth highest run-getter in Test cricket history with 8,181 runs. He had recently retired from all forms of professional cricket after his stint in the last edition of the Pakistan Super League.

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