KP boost for Dolphins

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The 36-year-old former England star has reacquainted himself with his roots for his second spell with the Dolphins in the domestic T20 competition, but he flies back to Australia (where he is working as a commentator on the Test series) Sunday, just hours after he plays for his old team in their domestic T20 match against the Titans in Bloemfontein.

Pietersen will then return for a second helping immediately after the Adelaide Test, playing in the Dolphins’ last four pool matches, starting with the return against the Titans at Kingsmead on November 30.

Pietersen, it will be recalled, struck two hundreds and two fifties in seven innings last season as he averaged 80 for the Dolphins at a strike rate of 172, which propelled them to the final.

‘KP’, who positively chews up the scenery wherever he is, was full of chat at Friday’s media conference.

On his preparations for Sunday: “ I got a day’s extra prep compared to last season thanks to the South Africans whacking the Aussies (in Hobart). In fact, I got in a day earlier than I wanted to. I had a net on Thursday and another one with the team today. I’ ll hit a few balls tomorrow and try to whack a few more on Sunday before I jump on another plane.”

On South Africa’ s series win: “Fantastic. Abbott and Rabada were incredible on the last morning in Hobart as Australia lost 8-32. And Kesh (Maharaj) made a great start to his Test career in Perth. His control was phenomenal.

“Overall South Africa have been amazing. Their all-round play has been a lot calmer than the Aussies, who’ve been panicked. They certainly haven’ t lived up to the standards that their public demands.”

On commentating: “ I don’t know if it will be my new career, but I enjoy it. I bring energy to the commentary box because that’s my personality.

“I’ m not afraid to call a spade a spade. The key to commentary is not to tell people what they can see but what they can’t see. For example, I try to tell people what I think is going through the captain’s mind.”

How much longer will he play? “I’ll play for as long as I enjoy batting. I hate fielding - I just try to get the job done - but I love the art of batting. When I stop wanting to practise and train the way I did this morning, I’ll give it up.”

About his short trip: “I couldn’t have done it with a new team. I walked into the dressing room today and it was like, Hi guys. It’s as if I’d been a part of the squad for a number of years.”

About Mark Boucher being the Titans’ coach: “It was a fantastic selection. All this garbage of needing coaching levels one, two and three - I’m not interested.

“When you’ve got a guy who’s played 147 Test matches, taken all those dismissals, done all that touring, has all that knowledge - that’s the kind of guy who walks into a dressing room and makes people really want to play for him.

“There’s only a few guys who have done what he’s done, so you want to bring him in.

“But I’m glad I’m leaving soon after the game. I don’t want to spend the afternoon with him if the Titans win!”

Dolphins coach Grant Morgan, sitting next to Pietersen, said he'd felt ‘goosebumps’ when his star import attended practice.

“I worked with Kevin once before - for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2009 IPL - and he really injected energy into that team.

“It’s a privilege to have a player of his quality who can transfer pressure on to our opponents.”

Asked about the injured Andile Phehlukwayo, Morgan said: “We wish him well in his recovery and we’re dedicating all our games to him.”

Dolphins: Morne van Wyk (capt, w/k), Cameron Delport, Kevin Pietersen, Cody Chetty, Rabian Engelbrecht, Robbie Frylinck, Mbasa Gqadushe, Kyle Nipper, Prenelan Subrayen, Mthokozisi Shezi, Imran Tahir, Craig Alexander, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Khaya Zondo.

Start: 10am

Independent on Saturday

Original source: KP boost for Dolphins

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