The tag of being ‘Million Dollar’ buys has its own pitfalls, but former England captain Kevin Pietersen feels “pressure will be a lot more” on speedster Tymal Mills than all-rounder Ben Stokes in IPL 2017.
Mills will turn out for Royal Challengers Bangalore while Stokes is representing Rising Pune Supergiant.
Stokes was bought for a whopping USD 2.16 million by Pune and T20 specialist Mills is now richer by USD 1.9 million.
Asked about the pressure factor, Pietersen, a veteran of 100 plus Tests and a sought-after name in franchise cricket, gave an elaborate explanation.
“In terms of performances, there will be a lot of pressure on Mills. He is getting a lot of money now but mind it this amount of money doesn’t survive a ‘large time’. It’s wonderful to get an unbelievable amount but he doesn’t have an international career per se to fall back on. He doesn’t have an ECB central contract like Ben Stokes has,” Pietersen told PTI during an exclusive interaction.
Pietersen was of the opinion that there is more pressure in this format as not many T20 Internationals are held per year.
“Mills is neither playing Test cricket nor playing ODIs. He is just playing T20 cricket and that’s just a couple of games. So there is a lot more pressure on a guy like Tymal Mills than on a guy like Ben Stokes,” said Pietersen.
Pietersen is in India as an IPL commentator and analyst for Sony Max’s ‘Extraaa Innings’.
One of England’s greatest ever batsman felt that Stokes should forget about the amount of money as this IPL will only be a patch of what is set to be a distinguished international career.
“I had the same problem. I got USD 1.5 million (from RCB). It is something more that the people talk about rather than what the players talk. It’s also got to do with how players think about their game,” said Pietersen.
“These (money) are part of perks of having played some very good cricket. He is being rewarded for his fantastic performances in his little career so far.
“In terms of longevity, it’s just a patch of his career, which he needs to enjoy a lot. He never demanded the money, he has been given the money,” the flamboyant former England batsman said.
He reminded that any failure, just like success, would be widely talked about, but the idea is to only concentrate on the on-field performances, which is in his control.
“Soon as you start thinking about money and off-field matters, then you fail. I think Stokes will do very well, he has got a brilliant coach in Stephen Fleming and I think he will be guided well by Steve Smith.”
On IPL’s various teams, Pietersen opined that Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers’ absence will affect RCB but, in this format, it’s the performance on a particular day that matters rather than the presence of big names.
“In T20 cricket, and I have played a lot of it, it doesn’t matter how your team looks on paper. It matters how you perform on a particular day. Anybody can win any game on a particular day, such is the format. Although Virat scored all those runs (in last edition), Bangalore didn’t win the title,” said Pietersen.
“Now will that make Bangalore a weaker team? Yes, it makes them a weaker team as Virat is a superstar. He and ABD are the two best batsmen in world cricket. But they have players who have the ability to be counted. It’s something that Chris Gayle’s got to do. Shane Watson also,” he concluded.