Kevin Pietersen believes the suspended Indian Premier League should finish in the UK this September, claiming it is the nation’s ‘most beautiful time’ of the year.
Cricket’s most lucrative tournament was indefinitely brought to a halt earlier this week due to India‘s raging coronavirus pandemic crisis, which had infiltrated the supposedly bio-secure environment created for the IPL.
With no clear plan as to when and how the tournament could continue, Pietersen insisted the UK in September would be perfect, especially because India will have just completed a Test series against England.
Kevin Pietersen said the suspended IPL should be completed in the UK this September
‘I have seen people talking about the UAE as a possible destination to finish the IPL in September but I actually think that the IPL should move to the UK,’ Pietersen told Betway Insider.
‘There is a window in September after the England v India Test series has finished. All the best Indian players would already be there and all of the best English players would be available as well.
‘Mid-to-late September is the most beautiful time in the UK. They could use Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and the two London grounds.’
Pietersen highlighted the huge support India has in the UK, and pointed to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to bring IPL cricket to the capital as a sign that the tournament would succeed.
The IPL was indefinitely suspended on Tuesday after three teams had coronavirus outbreaks
‘I have played internationals against India – one in particular in a World T20 against India at Lord’s – when it has felt like an away game because of how well Indian cricket is supported in the UK,’ Pietersen said.
‘Sadiq Khan has spoken about wanting to bring the IPL to London and Surrey were agreeing with it.
‘There is also a good chance that crowds will be allowed in the grounds and there will be great atmospheres.
‘The IPL has been to the UAE, it’s been to South Africa, and I think England would now be the perfect place to house the remaining fixtures.’
Pietersen agreed with the decision to suspend the IPL on Tuesday after a third team was affected by a Covid-19 outbreak.
Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad all reported positive infections in the space of a few days, prompting all fixtures to be suspended with immediate effect.
‘Unfortunately, the BCCI had no option but to postpone the IPL after the bubbles burst and players and coaches were becoming infected,’ he said.
India fans at the 2019 World Cup in England. Pietersen lauded India’s huge support in the UK
However, Pietersen stood by the BCCI’s initial decision to continue the tournament in the face of huge public outcry given the severity of the crisis across India.
‘I definitely bought into the fact that continuing the tournament initially was a positive thing for India. The country is not in a good way but I felt that providing six hours of entertainment each day was certainly a positive thing.
‘We were doing a job for all of India, creating a show to give people some relief. I thought that the package the players were delivering was fantastic.
‘Don’t forget that the players and broadcasters are not blind to what was going on in India. There was an awful lot of empathy and desire to help in any way we could, which is why we were so keen to put on the show.
‘But once players tested positive then there was going to be an awful lot of pressure on the BCCI to postpone the tournament and I do believe that they had little choice.’