‘Pietersen to join Gladiators in next PSL’

KARACHI: Former Engl­and batsman Kevin Piete­rsen could be seen in a prominent role with his previous franchise Quetta Gladiators in the next edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Interacting with a group of journalists via video link, Gladiators owner Nadeem Omar said that he had been in touch with Pietersen and would rope him in for the next season.

Pietersen hadn’t featured in any PSL matches that were played in Pakistan in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons before he retired from the game.

But Nadeem believes the situation and perception of Pakistan has changed and earlier this year, it paved the way for the first PSL season that saw all matches being played in Pakistan.

“KP has had the same realisation,” Nadeem said. “I have been in ready touch with him and can tell you that he has a different perspective about Pakistan now. We already have Sir Vivian Richards as mentor and the presence of KP will only beef up our camp. We’ll open up a slot for him next season.”

The latest PSL season, which has been interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak at the semi-finals stage, was the first edition in which Gladiators failed to make the final four.

Nadeem expressed displeasure over the fashion in which Gladiators’ ace batsman Umar Akmal was sidelined just hours before the start of the season.

“I was suddenly summoned during wee hours and was told about solid evidence against him. I was taken aback but now it came out as a simple case of non-reporting. I think it was a bit harsh on Gladiators to be deprived of a key player on such a charge,” he observed.

Nadeem also put his weight behind the Pakistan Cricket Board’s will to criminalise fixing in Pakistan.

He recalled the return of Mohammad Amir, from the ban in 2015, and shared that the left-arm paceman was regretful after the suspension and jail term for the spot-fixing episode of 2010.

Amir, after completing his five-year suspension, resumed at the Grade-2 circuit [the tier below the first-class level], with Nadeem’s outfit Omar Associates in 2015.

“Amir told me that in his case, there is a strong lesson for other players to realise and refrain from wrongdoings,” he recalled.

Nadeem also expressed his viewpoint on Ahmad Shahzad’s reservation regarding his batting position and said that he partially agrees with the right-handed batsman but couldn’t do much as the presence of Jason Roy and Shane Watson meant the opening slots were occupied.

“Ahmad has been a fantastic performer but could not click this year, he said. “His reservation regarding the batting slot is somewhat understandable however I believe he is good enough to perform at any position.”