Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has become on Tuesday (12 June) the first overseas player to deliver the annual MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture in Bengaluru.
His speech was largely concentrated on the importance of revival of Test cricket and most surprising thing was that Pietersen remembered the controversial late South African captain Hansie Cronje while addressing the 6th Memorial Lecture here.
Cronje, who was accused in the 2000 match-fixing scandal, died a couple of years later in a plane crash and many believed that he might have been murdered by the betting syndicate in South Africa.
"Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Malcolm Marshall, Steve Waugh, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev. Even the late, great but flawed Hansie Cronje," Pietersen said in his stirring address, which focussed on highlighting the relevance of Test cricket. Specifically, he pointed out the names of few eminent cricketers who have changed the face of Test cricket over the years.
Highlighting the pleasure of playing Test cricket, he noted, “Each played his fair share of one-day matches. But when we look back on their extraordinary achievements their performances that will always stand the test of time are those when they were dressed in white. Caps and trousers stained with sweat, grass and sometimes even blood in the white heat of a Test match. It's something I believe passionately.”
The 36-year-old also mentioned his campaign named "Save Our Rhinos Africa and India" during his lecture, saying, “...a retired cricketer has to broaden his or her horizons. We cannot live in the bubble forever. When I started talking about saving the rhinos there were many in the game who wondered if I was focused on helping the Mid West Rhinos cricket franchise in Zimbabwe!”
Pietersen signed off by saying, “I am, of course, dedicated to an incredible beast that should be able to call Africa and India home. In fact, it is hunted relentlessly and remorselessly. Its horns may provide short-term riches but its potential extinction risks us losing something incredibly precious. And it is no secret that I care fervently about the survival and the resurgence of both.”
(Inputs from PTI)