England outcast Pietersen will be joining old international pals Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara – along with hot properties David Warner and Dale Steyn – when he arrives for duty in April with his fourth IPL franchise.
That element of arrangements has heartened the 34-year-old, who attracted a solitary bid – at his base reserve price of 20 million rupees (£205,000) – in the annual IPL auction.
In monetary terms, there was perhaps a little less for Pietersen to smile about.
His contract pales in comparison with his previous ones at Bangalore, Delhi and Deccan – as well as India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh’s £1.6m bid to join the Daredevils this time.
Other big names, however, failed to attract any interest at all.
England’s Twenty20 opener Alex Hales, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, South Africa batsman Hashim Amla, West Indies’ Marlon Samuels, Australian Cameron White, and New Zealander Ross Taylor all went unsold.
Pietersen’s stock appeared to rise dramatically with his much-improved form for Melbourne Stars in this winter’s Big Bash tournament – reassuring after the record-breaking South Africa-born batsman’s paucity of runs, and matches, for much of last year since England controversially sacked him in the messy aftermath of their 2013-14 Ashes whitewash.
There was an awkard hush at yesterday’s auction in Bangalore when it became clear there was to be no clamour to secure Pietersen’s services for 2015.
But hours later, he tweeted: “To be playing with my buddies, @ravibopara, @Eoin16, @DaleSteyn62 & @davidwarner31 for the @SunRisers makes me really happy this am!”
England’s World Cup captain Morgan, who sold for his base price of around £156,000, and all-rounder Ravi Bopara (£100,000) both appear to have prioritised the IPL over Test ambitions.