Sunil Gavaskar, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and Farukh Engineer have delivered it before.
Last night the Bengaluru hosted the ‘NAMAN’ BCCI annual awards.The evening was a glittering one as Indian cricket stars attended the event. The Afghanistan Test team was also present as they play their first ever Test match tomorrow in Bangalore itself.
Apart from Virat Kohli receiving the Polly Umrigar award, another special thing happened, the all important MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture. It was former England captain Kevin Pietersen who delivered the speech. In this process he became the first non-Indian to the get this honor.
KP started off by saying that ” It is a huge honour to be standing here for so many reasons. To be in India, a country that has become a home from home over the year thanks to the friends I have made here. And my instant empathy with the people whose passion for and knowledge of our wonderful game of cricket is unparalleled.”
Carrying on he expressed that how he was overwhelmed to become the first overseas cricketer to be present at the ceremony and remember the great Pataudi. Pietersen heaped praise on the former Indian captain and stated that
“Although I’m not sure I would have felt quite as confident marching down the wicket in a test match with the use of only a single eye. I suggest that we should double his average to get a feel for how this man’s talent would have played out with double the vision.”
He further went on to talk about the Afghanistan side, his views on T20 cricket and how he grew up getting inspired by seeing men playing cricket in whites. Kevin said that exhausting and excitement makes a Test match special, the challenge is immense in succeeding in a game like this.
He asked a couple of questions although he himself answered them. the questions were: “What does it take to succeed in a test match?” and “What will it take to keep this form of the game alive?” “Let’s get the fans back!Let’s throw equal marketing clout behind the Test game before we succumb to the lazy assumption that 20-20 rules.”
As word of encouragement for the young and talented players of Afghanistan he stated that “The squad, the management, and all those who helped you get here. You guys are sitting on the very edge of history. The doom mongers say this is a dying form of the game, but you have it within your grasp to keep it alive. You are representing a population of 36 million people.
“Your country has scaled the ladder across the shorter forms of the game but this is bigger and better. And I have every faith that at some stage during the game one of you will lift your bat – or the ball – up high. Not just to acknowledge the applause for your personal achievement but, more significantly, to pinpoint that moment when all your hard work, the sacrifices you have made and the expectations of others that you have carried on your shoulders have borne fruit.”
Concluding his great talk, the former English player quoted that Play in the spirit of the great Tiger Pataudi. And if you take his values onto the square then whatever you achieve in this game and wherever it takes you, you will never regret a moment of it. Good luck! “