Kevin Pietersen will return home, to KwaZulu-Natal, to play for Dolphins in South Africa’s T20 competition in the upcoming season. Pietersen, who was born in the province’s capital Pietermaritzburg, has signed a five-match deal with the franchise, which will see him compete in the second half of the tournament. He will also be available for the knockouts should the team qualify.
This will be Pietersen’s second stint with the franchise, after he had contributed significantly to their run to the final last summer. Pietersen made seven appearances for Dolphins and finished as the second-highest run-getter, behind Quinton de Kock, with 401 runs, including two hundreds and two fifties, at an average and strike rate of 80.20 and 172.84 respectively.
“I’m as excited as anything to have signed with Dolphins again,” Pietersen said. “I had such a wonderful time with them last season and I really enjoyed the team, the camaraderie and the competition so it was a very easy decision to sign again for this season’s T20 competition. It will be great to getting back onto the cricket field again and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone in Durban again as well.”
Apart from being the highest profile player so far to be part of South Africa’s T20 tournament – which continues to struggle to attract international names due to the declining Rand and the scheduling – Pietersen is one of only two internationals alongside Imran Tahir to be named in Dolphins’ squad for the upcoming season.
Dolphins had lost their South African stars David Miller and Kyle Abbott to Knights and Warriors respectively, in an off season, which also included the departure of three other players – Jonathan Vandiar and Daniel Sincuba – the CEO Pete de Wet and coach Lance Klusener.
That has left newly-appointed coach Grant Morgan with the task of rebuilding the franchise. Morgan has already worked with Pietersen, during a stint at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, and hoped Pietersen could make a big impact for Dolphins as well.
“I was privileged enough to spend some time with Kevin during my time at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL back in 2009. Kevin was captain of that side and made an indelible impact on all the players, especially the youngsters,” Morgan said. “He is a world-class player in all formats of the game and in T20 he is no doubt one of the best there has ever been.” (ESPNCricinfo)
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent