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Kevin Pietersen: IPL column 06 05 2022

06 May | BY Kevin Pietersen | MIN READ TIME |
Kevin Pietersen: IPL column 06 05 2022

The Betway ambassador analyses the race for the IPL play-offs and says that Umran Malik and Liam Livingstone should be facing off in a Test match in July.

The race for the IPL play-offs is on

The race for third and fourth spot in the IPL table is on.

It should be a fascinating conclusion with Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings pushing Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

I had a fantastic time as a player at Delhi, so I’m really hoping that they can make it through.

They’ve got loads of experience in their side, with David Warner in fantastic form at the top of the order and Ricky Ponting in the dugout. Combine that with the other exciting talent in their side and they have a great chance.

I’m also really hoping that Rajasthan Royals can make it, in memory of Shane Warne.

Their tribute to the great man was amazing last Saturday and it would be very fitting if they can pull off something special over the next few weeks.

At this stage of the tournament, you are in a great place if you are beginning to peak. You want your best players playing their best cricket and a win-at-all-costs attitude.

Think positively, make good decisions, and you can make history for yourself.

Umran Malik should be in the India Test team

There are so many exciting young Indian pace bowlers in the IPL at the moment. Of the overseas players, only Lockie Ferguson and Alzarri Joseph are matching them for pace.

Kartik Tyagi and Mohsin Khan are both rapid, but the one that’s most exciting is Umran Malik. He bowled a 157kph delivery against Delhi on Thursday, which is serious pace.

It’s amazing to see such bold and exciting talent on display, and he has a perfect mentor in the SRH dugout in Dale Steyn. There is no better man to sit with and talk about fast bowling.

To me, there is no point waiting around. Malik should be in the reckoning for India’s Test team, as well as white-ball sides. Nobody enjoys facing that kind of pace.

You could use him like Australia used to use Mitchell Johnson, in short three- or four-over spells so that he can just let rip.

If I was an India selector, I’d pencil him in for that Test match against England in July. The England batters are currently facing 70mph seamers in county cricket, so they certainly won’t want to be facing 90-95mph bowling all of a sudden.

He is a breakout star of this competition and India would be silly not to use him straight away.

Liam Livingstone is also due a red-ball call up

Talking of players who should be involved in that England v India Test, it’s about time that England backed the talent of Liam Livingstone.

He is so free-spirited and I love the way that he is eager to entertain. He wants to give it a smack so he just does, no holding back. It’s awesome to watch.

There aren’t many better batters than him in England, I tell you. He’s used to playing in this high-pressure environment and he’s loving it.

I would have him straight in the Test side at five or six. He can change the nature of a match very quickly by taking bowling attacks apart. Of course he would fail at times, but when he goes well, crikey, you would have a guy who can destroy the opposition by scoring quick, entertaining runs.

Another name I mentioned last summer, Harry Brook, has made a brilliant start to the summer in England.

I think that Rob Key is on the same page as me in terms of picking players with great skill and a proper mentality, with a bit of oomph about them.

Hopefully that’s the kind of team England will pick for their first Test of the summer in a few weeks.

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Kevin Pietersen

World T20 and four-time Ashes winner, who retired as England’s second-highest run scorer of all time with 13,797 across all formats.

Kevin Pietersen

World T20 and four-time Ashes winner, who retired as England’s second-highest run scorer of all time with 13,797 across all formats.