Pietersen is like Muhammad Ali, says Viv Richards

West Indies legend Viv Richards yesterday said England’s star batsman Kevin Pietersen is cricket’s answer to boxing great Muhammad Ali.

South Arican-born Pietersen has had his share of controversies with the England team, and Richards reckoned he would bounce back off the ropes, just like Ali, and succeed in the upcoming series against India. '

Imaging/ Amit Bandre

The India tour is Pietersen’s first outing for England since he was dropped in August for sending provocative text
messages to touring South Africa players that contained criticism of the then skipper Andrew Strauss.

The 32-year-old, also missed the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. He only made it to the England squad again following a series of reconciliatory meetings with England cricket bosses.

Richards said KP talked himself into trouble just like Ali. “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, who won seven Tests in India with the great Windies sides of the 1970s and 80s, told British tabloid The Sun.

“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, he’s his own worst enemy but you can’t deny how good he is to watch and how important he is to England,” added Richards.  

We missed you, kevin: england pacer tim Bresnan
England’s star batsman Kevin Pietersen, who returned to national duty yesterday after a troubled 73-day stand-off with English team bosses, had a field day with his teammates on Day One of the first warm-up tie against India ‘A’ at the Brabourne Stadium. The all-rounder was seen having a great time in the slips with his England mates and was also actively involved in discussions with skipper Alastair Cook and other senior members of the team.

Pietersen even bowled his slow off-spinners, conceding seven runs without a wicket, in the only over he was given.

“It was business as usual,” said Tim Bresnan of KP’s return to the England fold.

“We are happy he’s back in the team. We missed him. We hope it will remain like this. It’s as though he was injured and is now back in the squad,” added Bresnan.

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