Pietersen worried by lack of modern superstars

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen plays a shot while playing for Melbourne Stars

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen says the lack of “superstars” in cricket is a “big worry” for the state of the sport.

Pietersen, 38, retired from all forms of cricket earlier this year.

He scored 8,181 runs in 104 Tests for England in addition to 4,440 runs in 136 one-day internationals and 1,176 runs in 37 Twenty20 internationals.

“I really struggle to see entertainers, they’re lacking in the game,” Pietersen told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek.

He added that India captain Virat Kohli is the “stand-out” of those currently playing.

“But otherwise pure entertainers and superstars are not in the game and that’s a big worry,” he said.

South Africa-born Pietersen contrasted current international cricketers with stars of the early 2000s such as Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, West Indies fast bowlers Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh and Australia greats Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

“Maybe it’s a generational thing but the sad part is that quite a few of those former players are commentating but they are not in the game of cricket,” Pietersen said.

“You want those superstars attached to franchises, national sides and academies so that youngsters get inspired to be those people.”

Langer is the current Australia head coach and Ponting has worked with the national side as an assistant coach – while Ambrose and Walsh have previously been bowling coaches with West Indies and Bangladesh respectively.

Pietersen, who was part of four England Ashes victories and briefly captained the national side, said national boards needed to pay more to hire former greats into coaching and director of cricket roles.

“They have to get paid more because the money for commentary, which is a pretty easy gig, is fairly good,” added Pietersen, who has worked as a commentator himself since the end of his England career in 2014.

“The boards have that money and they maybe need to get their fingers in their pockets.”

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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