IPL and Kevin Pietersen share a lot in common than what meets the eye - swashbuckling cricket siding with unorthodoxy, money's worth entertainment, self-belief, incomprehensible issues with the mother board, unending controversies on and off the field, a strong relationship with South Africa - all put together gives both a lustrous box-office appeal.
The outspoken and talented ways of Pietersen leaves critics confused and bewildered at the same time. Some tend to approve and laud him while others consider his ways nothing short of outrageous. Shocked and sacked by the ECB after a disappointing 0-5 Ashes loss in January, Pietersen accepted his fate and has now moved on to play for the IPL side Delhi Daredevils come April 16 when the first phase of the drama begins in the UAE.
Whether it was a justified act or whether he was made to be a scapegoat as many opine, Pietersen took it all in his stride and expressed the honour that came with representing his adopted country England. Recently, Alastair Cook expressed his frustration about the whole episode and said a clear explanation would come in time. But for now, all that the ECB could give away was that "the time is right to look to the future and start to rebuild not only the team but also team ethic and philosophy."
Keeping the past behind, Pietersen has decided to embark on, and make his own, yet another cricketing journey. He takes on a responsible role of captaining the Delhi Daredevils in IPL 7. And IPL being amidst immense controversy right now, he was asked if he and his players could detach from all the off-field issues.
"I am a player and I only do what happens on the cricket field, in training and in the dressing rooms," Pietersen was quoted as saying by TOI. "What happens off the cricket field has got nothing to do with me. My job will be to mould a young side for a successful campaign in the tournament.
"I can't do anything as captain when a guy is in his bedroom or anywhere else. There is nothing anybody can do. You are who you are as a person. If you cheat and fix matches there is no place in the game for you and you should never play cricket. I love cricket and it's given me a wonderful life. There have been ups and downs and it's been an incredible and honest journey. I have always gone out every day trying to beat a bowler on the field."
He plays not only in the shadow of IPL scandals but also his own set of controversies looming large with obscurity. But, he says he has left English cricket for good and has nothing to prove after almost a decade of international cricket.
"I don't play cricket to make any point," Pietersen said. "This is just a new chapter in my life. I'll go out there and enjoy my cricket. I love the IPL and the competition in it. I have played 104 Tests, played everywhere and played for over 10 years, so I don't need to prove anything to anyone. My aim will be to help Daredevils perform at their best this season, set high standards and if we can achieve something together it'll be fantastic."
To achieve something together, the aggressive batsman in Pietersen has to find his rhythm, and according to his reading, the wickets in the UAE are bound to play into the batsman's hands.
"Dubai is very similar to Indian conditions," Pietersen added. "Abu Dhabi was low, slow and cracked. So Abu Dhabi is totally different to Dubai and I have never played in Sharjah. Mushtaq Ahmed tells me that Sharjah is really flat - one of the flattest in the world. So overall it should be good for the batsmen.
"Some players are going to be in form and some not, but that's the way of life. We just want everyone to blend together and have a good time."