Maverick England batsman Kevin Pietersen struggled to get along with coaches of his own team most of his playing career and his quest for a “genuine guru” ended in faraway India where, he says, former captain Rahul Dravid made a lasting impact on his technique.
In his autobiography ‘KP’ released this week, Pietersen refers repeatedly to an e-mail the Indian batting legend wrote to him about playing spinners which made a massive difference to him.
“Rahul was a great and heroic Indian batsman in his day. He is also a genius at dealing with spin bowlers. Our conversations and emails were a private masterclass from a genuine guru,” Pietersen writes in the book.
“Rahul improved my cricket and helped me develop the way I think about the game. His generosity will stay with me always.”
In the email quoted by Pietersen, Dravid refers to him as a “champ” and goes on to give him a pep talk: “KP, you are a really good player, you need to watch the ball and trust yourself… Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t play spin, I have seen you and you can!”
Pietersen wrote that he often reads this particular email and it beings a smile to his face.
“My playing of spin has gone up a number of levels since I’ve spent time in the IPL, and in particular, since I’ve spoken to Rahul Dravid…In England, batsmen get taught to play with the spin against spin bowlers. In India, the best players of spin get taught to play against it,” he adds.
The South African-born cricketer has created a stir among the England cricket establishment with claims of bullying within the English dressing room, led by the then coach Andy Flower.
It has led to England captain Alastair Cook accusing him of tarnishing a successful era for the squad.
In his autobiography, Pietersen is outspoken about the unfriendliness of his teammates and is all praise for the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the “adrenalin rush” and bonding atmosphere.
“The IPL is the future… I could talk about money and the IPL all day to you, but for the friendships alone I would play for free,” says the Delhi Daredevils player.