Durban - The Dolphins have re-signed global T20 star Kevin Pietersen for the upcoming Ram Slam T20 Challenge, adding a fresh injection of energy as the franchise prepares for the 2016/17 domestic cricket season.
Pietersen has again signed a five-match deal that will see him represent the KZN franchise in the second half of the round robin stage and will also turn out for the Dolphins in the playoffs and final should the team progress to the knockout phase of the competition.
“I’m as excited as anything to have signed with the Dolphins again,” explained Pietersen.
“I had such a wonderful season with them last season and I really enjoyed the team, the camaraderie and the competition so it was a very easy decision to sign again for this season’s T20 competition.
“It will be great to getting back onto the cricket field again and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone in Durban again as well.
“Here’s to a successful campaign!” he adds.
While disappointed to see Dolphins CEO, Pete de Wet’s time in charge of the KZN franchise draw to a close shortly, Pietersen is relishing the opportunity of working with newly appointed head coach, Grant Morgan again.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to deal with Pete (de Wet) - I’m sorry to see him leave the Dolphins, but I’m really excited to work with Grant Morgan who I know very well,” says Pietersen.
“I was privileged enough to spend some time with Kevin during my time at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL back in 2009,” explains Morgan.
“He was captain of that side and made an indelible impact on all the players, especially the youngsters.”
“It's great to have Kevin coming back and playing for the Dolphins again this season. He is a world class player in all formats of the game and in T20 he is no doubt one of the best there has ever been.”
While Pietersen’s mentoring role was again evident during his time with the Dolphins last season, taking players such as Andile Phehlukwayo under his wing and guiding the exciting all-rounder, it was his effort with the bat that left the most telling impression.
The former Maritzburg College pupil and KZN age group player blasted 401 runs in just seven innings - including two hundreds and two fifties at an average of 80.20 and a strike of 172.84 - that ignited the competition as a whole and played a key role in seeing the Dolphins reach the final.
“Through my involvement with the Warriors last year, from the side of the field one could see and feel the impact Kevin had on the game,” says Morgan.
“His results were of a freakish nature that really helped pilot the Dolphins into the final.”
“It’s a privilege to have a player join us at the Dolphins who has such an impact on the squad, the tournament as well as the fans and we look forward to him having a huge impact on our team, and indeed the whole competition, once again.”
Outgoing CEO, De Wet is another thrilled by Pietersen’s return and believes his inclusion in the squad’s T20 plans will yield positive results for the franchise.
“I’m extremely pleased we’ve been able to sign Kevin to the Dolphins again for this season’s RAM Slam T20 Challenge,” says De Wet.
“He added immense value to our franchise last year and having a guy like him around can only do wonders for the Dolphins again this time around.”
“We got very close to winning the T20 competition last year but unfortunately weren’t able to get over the line against the Titans in the final; hopefully having KP around again this year can help us achieve part of what we’re trying to achieve as a franchise this season.”
De Wet is also confident the remainder of the Dolphins squad has what it takes to achieve the franchise’s goals for 2016/17 and wishes the players and coaching staff well for their upcoming campaign.
“As the Dolphins gear up for a big season, Grant (Morgan) has been working really hard with the players that are not playing overseas and are available to him now and we’re already starting to see those guys hitting their straps.
“I will look back on my tenure at the Dolphins with much fondness and will certainly be keeping a close tabs on the results from New Zealand.
“I would like to wish the squad all the best of luck and hope that they will continue to put in the hard yards in the next couple of weeks and months leading up to the season.
“I have no doubt that they will bring success to Dolphins franchise in the very near future,” says De Wet.