England 'jealous' of IPL - Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen has blamed England's lack of enthusiam for the IPL on "jealousy," fuelling the debate over attitudes towards India's all-consuming Twenty20 tournament. Interest in the IPL remains limited in the UK, with media coverage virtually non-existent and more attention given to the start of the County Championship season.
Pietersen, who along with Eoin Morgan is the only current England international in this year's IPL, believes he knows why. "The IPL is very much struggling to find acceptance back home," he told reporters in India. "It saddens me because I have had an amazing time at the IPL.
"It's down to a lot of jealousy I think, which is sad. It saddens me, all the negative publicity the IPL gets in the [UK] media, I don't know why."
Pietersen, like many England players, is unable to take part in England's own Twenty20 tournament because it clashes with the international schedule but the BCCI have been careful to ensure their top players are available for the IPL.
Pietersen's comments follow a scathing assessment of the effect of IPL in Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Wisden's editor, Lawrence Booth, complained of: "The rise of a Twenty20-based nationalism, the growth of private marketeers and high-level conflicts of interest," adding: "It is a perfect storm and the global game sits unsteadily in the eye."
While other England players have been released for early season four-day Championship matches, Pietersen's emphasis is on the Twenty20 game. "Playing another month in the subcontinent honing my skills, training with the spinners and practising, I consider myself so very fortunate," he said.
"I'd love to see more English players available for ... well not only available, I would love to see them picked up because I also see some of the games being played at the moment and I just think ... man, up here would have been lot better if the Andersons, Bresnans and Boparas were involved in the IPL," he added in an interview with CNN-IBN. "The guys like Bell, you've got world class players who are sitting in England now wanting to play the IPL when you've got some second rate Australians getting gigs here.
"So for me, it's sad that I don't have fellow team-mates playing in the IPL and embarking on a magnificent journey here in the subcontinent and it'll help English cricket as well."
England fast bowler Stuart Broad pulled out of IPL this week because of injury, while two more members of England's attack, James Anderson and Graeme Swann, were unsold.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo