Kevin Pietersen has expressed concern over the lack of superstars in contemporary cricket and stated that it is a worrying sign for the game.
Pietersen, a flamboyant aggressive batsman, who thrilled the cricketing world with his dazzling strokeplay retired from all forms of the game earlier this year. While conceding that the sport lacked the big entertainers it had in the past, he singled out Virat Kohli as one such exception.
“I really struggle to see entertainers, they’re lacking in the game,” Pietersen was quoted telling BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek.
"Kohli is an exception. But otherwise pure entertainers and superstars are not in the game and that’s a big worry,” he added.
Pietersen recalled some of the great entertainers and big stars of the late 1990s and early 2000s – the likes of Muralitharan, Ambrose, Walsh, Hayden, Tendulkar, Ponting, Warne, Gilchrist, Flintoff, Akram – and compared them with the current lot of cricketers.
“Maybe it’s a generational thing but the sad part is that quite a few of those former players are commentating but they are not in the game of cricket,” he said.
“You want those superstars attached to franchises, national sides and academies so that youngsters get inspired to be those people.”
Pietersen emphasized the need for the various national boards to engage more with former greats giving them a larger role in coaching and administration.
“They have to get paid more because the money for commentary, which is a pretty easy gig, is fairly good,” added Pietersen, who has worked as a commentator himself since the end of his England career in 2014.
Pietersen scored 8,181 runs in 104 Tests at a strike rate of 61.72. He also aggregated 4.440 runs in 136 ODIs scoring at 86.58 per hundred balls.
He was regarded as one of the best T20 players of his generation. His record for England was particularly outstanding – 1.176 runs in 37 T20Is at a staggering strike rate of 141.52.