Kevin Pietersen, the former England batsman, has been selected by the Committee of Administrator(COA) and Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) as the former cricketer who'll deliver the great Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi Lecture on June 12 this year.
Petersen becomes the sixth and the first non-Indian to deliver this lecture, after big names like Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Farokh Engineer. Pietersen, who is currently commentating in the Indian Premier League, has played 104 Tests for England and recently announced his retirement from all forms of the game.
Pietersen was one of the four shortlisted by BCCI GM (cricket operations), Syed Saba Karim. The other options were: Sourav Ganguly, Nasser Hussain, and Kumar Sangakkara.
There is a corner criticising this move under the BCCI that points out that there are other Indian greats who haven't yet been given this honour. The BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary is at the front of these voices against the COA who actually made this decision.
He recently wrote in a letter echoing his sentiment that, “ … I understand Tiger Memorial Lecture is not an elocution contest and reasonable communication skills are all that we should look for. GM (Cricket Operations) expression of happiness on it (choice of the speaker) had left me wondering on whether the lecture was indeed MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture or Sir Len Hutton Lecture or for that matter Sir Frank Woolley Memorial lecture.”
The COA Chief Vinod Rai though has cleared, “We (the CoA) have the highest regards for our Indian cricketers. Last year, we had Farokh Engineer deliver the lecture. If anybody had suggested Contractor or Borde should deliver the lecture, after Kumar Sangakkara declined, I would have readily accepted it. It’s just that BCCI has finalized one name of the original four names short-listed,”
(Inputs from Hindustan Times)