Pietersen catches up with some England buddies
After more than a year as an England outcast, Kevin Pietersen can count on some old buddies to help him through another season in the IPL.
Suddenly Sunrisers Hyderabad have become the IPL team to watch for many of us in England who need our regular fix of Twenty20. Not just Pietersen, but also Eoin Morganand Ravi Bopara will be looking to revive one of IPL's less successful outfits.
Predictably, Sunrisers' head coach Tom Moody was asked by one Indian journalist at the auction in Bangalore whether it was a gamble to put Pietersen in the same dressing room as Morgan, England's one-day captain, considering the traumatic end to Pietersen's England career.
But Moody was correct in his assertion that Pietersen's issues have been primarily with the ECB. Morgan has always retained admiration for Pietersen's talents, although he was too savvy to say so openly when he took over the captaincy. There was no advantage in inviting another media frenzy when all logic instructs that the chapter is closed.
Imagine the gossip that will now ensue on those long Indian nights.
Pietersen is still getting richer on IPL - but less quickly. He drew only £205,000, nearly £700,000 less then the sum he fetched 12 months ago when he joined Delhi Daredevils as the only England player in the 2014 tournament.
If there was ever a team now designed to challenge the widespread assertion in India that England can't play T20 it is the Sunrisers. They reached the play-offs in 2013 and, if they happen to better that with this trio to the fore, they could even scatter the disregard in which the average England T20 player is held in India. KP, Morgan, Bopara and even a pub called 10 Downing Street - Hyderabad has never sounded more Anglo-centric.
If not, expect more of the sort of head dropping by the power brokers around the circular tables, all dressed in team colours, that greeted the likes of Alex Hales and Michael Carberry, both unsold. Hales is extolled by many in the English media as the future of T20: the message has yet to reach India.
Kumar Sangakkara was another player to miss out: Surrey, where he is due to captain whenever other commitments allow, will be keeping an eye on that.
Are you a bit vague perhaps on the composition of the Sunrisers? That would be no surprise because the composition of IPL sides is forever under the auctioneer's hammer - wielded by the most well-spoken of Englishmen, Richard Madley, a former Surrey League cricketer who pops up on BBC's Bargain Hunt and has been dubbed "The Hammer Man".
It's a far cry from county cricket a generation ago where Matthew Engel, for the Guardian wrote that it somehow encapsulated the meaning of life that every April, Ned Larkins and Geoff Cook strapped on the pads and walked to open for the umpteenth season. Few welcome those certainties any more.
Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Kane Williamson, Dale Steyn, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma all remain in a side not short of batting ability. Trent Boult, the New Zealand, left-armer, an expensive new purchase, adds to the anticipation.
It is quite possible that Pietersen has played his last professional cricket in England, but every domestic T20 selection is a reminder that he is valued highly elsewhere. Along with Sunrisers, his commitments extend to St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League and Melbourne Stars in BBL. Hyderabad, St Lucia, Melbourne... and golf at Wentworth.
Pietersen might privately regard Hyderabad itself as a bit of a comedown. It is his second coming - he played there once before for Deccan Chargers, a franchise now defunct - but the city lacks the instant appeal of his previous incarnations in Bangalore and Delhi.
So to help him, and his England colleagues, approach the season in positive frame of mind, here is an ESPNcricinfo guide to three of Hyderabad's top attractions:
Birla Mandir is a Hindu temple of Lord Venkateshwara, built entirely of white marble. Now there is an idea for KP's next house move once his latest IPL payment is banked. Praised for its sense of calm and serenity, it is just the place to retreat during a poor run of form. There again, the IPL franchises don't pay quite as well as they once did.
Ramoji Film City is the world's largest integrated film studio complex, certified by Guinness World Records no less. They say that a filmmaker can walk in with a script and walk out with a canned film. If KP hangs around long enough, among the holidaymakers and corporate clients, who knows what star part he might be offered.
The last entry on TripAdvisor for the Salar Jung Museum railed that people should have more respect for old treasures. KP is at the stage of his career when he would probably sympathise. At last nobody has covered him yet with an old plastic sheet.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps