| Kevin Pietersen, in Mumbai, on Tuesday |
London: West Indian batting legend Vivian Richards reckons Kevin Pietersen is cricket’s answer to Muhammad Ali, and believes the English batsman has got the “X-factor” to respond to his critics in the upcoming four-Test series in India.
Richards, who won seven Tests in India with the great West Indies teams of the 1970s and 80s, finds a similarity between Pietersen and the world’s greatest boxer in terms of their behaviours.
“Kevin is a good player but talks himself into some issues.
“In the old days we had Muhammad Ali — the way he spoke and acted, people wanted to see him knocked out. But he was a great boxer,” Richards was quoted as saying by an English daily.
“Now I’m not saying KP is exactly like Ali, that man was the greatest.
“But you can see through his behaviour that people want to take him down that little bit more. But because he has the X-factor he can respond to it.
“Looking from afar, Kevin’s his own worst enemy but you can't deny how good he is to watch and how important he is to England,” the West Indian great added.
Pietersen was in the England side, currently playing India A in Mumbai.
This is his first international outing since ending hostilities with the team management following last summer’s text scandal.
He was chucked out of the team during the lost Test rubber at home against South Africa for sending unflattering messages to the rival camp about then captain Andrew Strauss and other team members.
Coach Andy Flower has welcomed the return of Pietersen to the ranks.
“Whatever label you want to put on it, Kevin is coming back into the team after a few problems that we had,” he said.
“I’m confident we’ll work together well from now on.
“It takes a little while to get back into your rhythm and top form but he’s an amazing cricketer.”