Barbados: After powering England to a title win at the World T20 on Sunday, Kevin Pietersen revealed one of the reasons behind his success was the amount of work he had put in his batting during the Indian Premier League. Pietersen was adjudged Man of the series after his terrific run with the bat in the World T20.
It was all a far cry from the Pietersen who struggled for runs during England's tour of South Africa and at the start of their subsequent visit to Bangladesh after he missed most of England's Ashes triumph last year due to an Achilles injury. Pietersen said his return to form hadn't come just by talking.
"The work that I put in India (during the Indian Premier League), there is no greater place to go learn your batting and work hard. I spent hours and hours in the nets in Bangalore and spent an hour and half at Nagpur in a game where I missed out," said Pietersen, who plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
Pietersen had smashed a sizzling half-century against the Rajasthan Royals after being out of form for more than a year. Since that superlative knock of 62, Pietersen has not looked back. The aggressive batsman scored 248 runs during the event at an average of 62, despite missing a match to complete an 8,000 mile round trip to attend the birth of his first child.
"I just worked really hard as I can because I was really disappointed in my winter and in the last 12 months. It's difficult for me to say how well I'm batting, I feel good and to contribute to this, there's no greater feeling. To do what we have done here in the past two weeks - priceless."
Pietersen rounded off the competition with a dominating 47 in a seven-wicket win in the final against arch-rivals Australia at the Kensington Oval here on Sunday, sharing a second-wicket stand of 111 with rising star Craig Kieswetter, a former South Africa Under-19 international.
Pietersen thanked his team-mates for helping him find his form after a man-of-the-tournament-winning display during England's World Twenty20 triumph in the West Indies.
"It's humbling, for sure," said Pietersen of his individual award. "You've got to savour things like this. But if it wasn't for the help of all the dressing room in Bangladesh and the coaching staff and management, I probably wouldn't have been here - batting the way I did," the 29-year-old added.
He paid particular tribute to England Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood, saying: "The nights and the dinners I had with Colly, reassuring me of how to play when you lose sight of how you should be playing coming back from the injury I had, really helped.
"It's difficult to believe. But player-of-the-series is just something given to one person. The team is the most important thing. If it was not for the team I wouldn't be sitting here," Pietersen also told reporters.
"The team have been absolutely incredible, in the 'journey' - and so has the help I've had from (England coach) Andy Flower and all the boys throughout the tournament and it has certainly paid off."
England's victory, their first in a major one-day tournament after four losing final appearances (three in World Cups and the 2004 Champions Trophy), capped a memorable few days for Pietersen.
"It's incredible really, it will only sink in a few weeks' time or when I see my little boy and hold him."
(With inputs from AFP)