'Just chill dude, you can't play with 3 people and their dog watching you': Kevin Pietersen to Virat Kohli

By, New Delhi
Mar 29, 2023 10:08 PM IST

Ahead of IPL 2023, former England captain Kevin Pietersen revealed what he told Virat Kohli when he wasn't performing at his best.

After a disappointing season last year, Virat Kohli will enter the IPL 2023 in red-hot form. The second-half of 2022 marked the return to form for Kohli as the star India batter not only ended his century drought, but peeled off two ODI hundreds in three innings to show glimpses of the old Virat. After scoring his maiden T20I at last year's Asia Cup, Kohli also ended his over three-year-long wait in Tests when he slammed his 28th in the drawn India vs Australia Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Ahmedabad, right in time before the IPL much to the delight of the Royal Challengers Bangalore and its fans.

Kevin Pietersen says Virat Kohli felt 'hurt' during the Covid pandemic. (Getty)
Kevin Pietersen says Virat Kohli felt 'hurt' during the Covid pandemic. (Getty)

Last IPL, Kohli scored 341 runs from 16 matches, and while it wasn't his worst-ever returns, it certainly was one that saw him plummet to a new low. In IPL 2022, Kohli got out to three golden ducks, making him the 13th player to put up such an unwanted record. He did fight back to score two half-centuries but even during those innings, Kohli looked far from his fluent best. This year however, things appear bright for Kohli and RCB alike, and one of the many to keep a close eye on Virat will be Kevin Pietersen.

The former England captain called people who ruled Kohli out as 'foolish', while adding that playing in front of empty stadiums had an adverse impact on him. Kohli played the IPL 2020 and 2021 while the world was still gripped with Covid-19 as Pietersen revealed what he told Virat when he wasn't performing at his best, despite scoring 466 and 405 runs in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

"Virat, I've known for a very long time. The way that he plays the game. So passionate, so abrasive, so emotional. I think Covid hurt him. I said it to him. 'Just chill, dude, it's Covid, you're an entertainer. You cannot play with three people and their dog watching you play cricket.' To see him get that 75th hundred. People were foolish not to back him and not to support him," Pietersen wrote in his blog for Betway.

The former England maverick batter also weighed in on the importance of IPL, highlighting what it means to the players. At a time when a plethora of T20 leagues are emerging across the world and the country vs franchise cricket debate is raging hot, Pietersen's mind harked back to the conversation he once had with Kohli and AB de Villiers, who aptly summed up the significance of IPL.

"All the best players know, they block out their two months of the year, that's when they're going to go and do their service. There's a lot of pressure. I remember speaking to De Villiers and Kohli about this three or four years ago. They say it’s like the Champions League. These guys are turning up knowing this is not just a free ride to go and earn a quick buck. They really have to perform," KP pointed out.

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