Talking points from the MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture
The sixth year of the Pataudi Lecture was preceded by a massive backlash from all quarters because of ex-English cricketer Kevin Pietersen being given the honor to speak his views. With all respect to Pietersen's credentials as a successful cricketer and wonderful ambassador of the game, the criticism mainly drew from the fact that he was the first non-Indian to do so, with the first five lectures given by legendary Indian cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Farokh Engineer in the respective order.
Although, after his address to the esteemed audience of BCCI officials and other cricketing dignitaries in Bengaluru last night, the former standoffish attitude to KP's appointment was curbed as he offered his insight on how the boards can go about preserving the oldest format of cricket, among other things. Here are the three major talking points from the flamboyant batsman's speech who recently hung his boots from domestic cricket.
#1 Test cricket remains summit
"Trust me, there is no feeling like the exhaustion, the excitement, the sense of wonder at waking up on the final day of a Test match knowing that any result is possible. The aching thighs. The mental fatigue. The fear. And the possibility that this will be the day."
Pietersen has been a Twenty20 globetrotter and has had the fortune to feature in more than a hundred Tests. There is perhaps no better person to give views on the contrast between the formats and how they stack up against each other, especially in an age where the red ball variant of cricket is on the verge of an untimely demise.
He spoke about how it still remains the best form of cricket even in the face of the T20 flux, and indeed, even today a true cricket fan gets more exhilaration from five days of hard-fought cricket ending in a tense draw than a T20 tie decided by six-ball-a-side eliminators, where often flukes win matches.
He said, speaking of T20 cricket, "But it offers the cricketing buzz without the full sting. Wickets are less precious. Risks are taken without the same downside. There is less character and technique required. Few players have ever been met with the wrath of an entire population simply for getting out to an injudicious shot early in a T20 innings."