London: 'Sick and tired' of defending himself again and again about his participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL), England batsman Kevin Pietersen said he had no qualms about taking part in the cash-rich tournament and would continue to do so in future as well.
"It's plain and simple. I'm sick and tired of having to defend myself about going to the IPL every year. It's something that's there which all the best players in the world play in. There is no need to defend myself. I will play in the IPL, it's the best tournament going, and that's the way it is," Pietersen said.
The 31-year-old batsman, who left for England after playing eight games for his IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils, insisted there was no doubting where his loyalties lay. "I love playing for England. It's the best. Everyone says it's a shame missing out on the IPL for the rest of the series. Yes it is, but I'm playing the best form of cricket next week. I'm playing in a Test match at Lord's. Growing up as a kid, that's the sort of thing you dream of."
Surrey's First Division County Championship match against Worcestershire at New Road, which started on Wednesday, is Pietersen's lone first-class match before England face the West Indies in the first Test at Lord's next week. Pietersen, restricted to fielding duties as Worcestershire made 58 without loss on a rain-marred first day, added: "I feel like I've never batted better."
Although the weather in Worcester is far different from what he's been used to lately, Pietersen said the biggest hardship in taking part in this Championship match was that it would mean he missed his son Dylan's second birthday on Thursday. "It is different conditions. It's 15 degrees [here]. I'd like to see a two in front of the five! But it's not a case of adapting to different conditions. I've been in England for 13 years now.
"It's just adjusting. When you go to Sri Lanka and its 44-45 degrees, you have to adjust then as well. There are no dramas. I love doing what I'm doing. This week makes it very tough for me because I've been away for two months and haven't seen my kid [Dylan] for two months and it's his birthday tomorrow. It's not the best situation for me but this is my job, this is what I've got to do, my family realises that and it doesn't last forever."
(With inputs from AFP)