Yuvraj did not deserve the unwarranted criticism, says Pietersen
Once labelled a 'pie-chucker' by Kevin Pietersen, beleaguered Yuvraj Singh has found support from the maverick batsman, who says the India left-hander is at the receiving end of 'unwarranted criticism' following his scratchy knock in the World T20 final against Sri Lanka in Dhaka, on Sunday.
Yuvraj's 21-ball 11 sucked the momentum out of India's innings and some unruly fans pelted stones at the all-rounder's residence in Chandigarh after India lost the title clash to Sri Lanka by six wickets.
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Standing behind Yuvraj, who is now a friend, Pietersen said: "I haven't read the newspapers here but what I have seen on Twitter is that he has got a bit of stick. I think that it was unwarranted and he did not deserve this."
Former India players such as Kris Srikkanth and Ravi Shastri had been critical of Yuvraj's batting, prompting Pietersen to say that it's "very easy to say things" when one is not an active international cricketer.
"You can't always be good. It's very easy to say things when you stop playing. I see a lot of players talking who don't even play international cricket and wished they were playing, have a lot of things to say. Because criticising is the easiest thing to do," he said.
Image: Kevin Pietersen (right) with Yuvraj Singh
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
'I kind of enjoy having selection dilemmas'
Pietersen, who will lead Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, is happy that he will have to face a selection dilemma when it comes to having his pick between Dinesh Karthik and the new South African sensation Quinton de Kock -- the two handy options for wicketkeeper-batsman's slot.
While De Kock has played some good innings for South Africa in limited overs cricket, Karthik's Rs 12.5 crore bidding makes him slightly favourite to get the nod.
"Of course, it is good to have selection dilemmas as it is quite a good thing to have. I kind of enjoy having selection dilemmas. You have got to hate the fact that you can only choose from only 11 players.
"You should be wanting that your squad of 16 is ready to have a go. Yes, it will be a difficult pick for the first match but we would certainly settle down with time," he said.
Image: Dinesh Karthik
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
'I don't see any pressure. In fact, I enjoy pressure'
Pietersen, who has been told by the ECB that he would not be picked for international cricket in the future, pointed out that he is not feeling stressed ahead of the upcoming season of IPL.
"I don't see any pressure. In fact, I enjoy pressure. As an individual, all you can do is to give your best. In the next six weeks, I will give my everything to Delhi Daredevils. I am a firm believer in 'what will be will be'. So people can't demand things. People can be happy if things happen and be disappointed when things don't happen. I am a realist in every sense," Pietersen said.
The batsman is upbeat about his team's chances as he believes that the squad has got good depth and under Gary Kirsten's coaching they are expecting a good showing.
"We do have a lot of expectations as we have picked up a player that can do real good things. The strength is good as we have quality Indian players and experienced overseas players. In Gary Kirsten, we have a great coach. I think we have the ability to go all the way. Having said that, I can tell you that there are no guarantees as such," he said.
"I think my interactions with Gary has been very, very good. We kind of sing from similar hymn sheet. Gary is a very relaxed man and a great man manager. I just can't wait to start working with him."
The right-hander also feels that there is no big deal about adaptability as some of the younger Indian players will be playing in the United Arab Emirates for the first time.
"If you talk about me, I have done that for 10 years of international cricket playing in different countries in different conditions. As far as the younger players are concerned, it will be a good experience for them," he said.
Image: Kevin Pietersen with security guards at Delhi airport
Photographs: Kevin Pietersen on Facebook