MUSCAT: Former captain and batting star Kevin Pietersen has said that it's "stupid" to blame the Indian Premier League for England's embarrassing 0-4 loss to Australia in the recently-concluded Ashes series.
England great David Gower was "annoyed" after their Ashes defeat and said current skipper Joe Root had players who were "unavailable" because of the IPL.
Pietersen, an Ashes winner in 2005, 2009, 2010-11 and 2013, laughed at the remark.
"It is stupid. You can't blame the IPL for the demise of Test cricket in England. It's crazy. I've commented on it quite a lot. It's the system, it's the county cricket system, which is poor. So there's no blame," Pietersen, who is representing World Giants in the Legends League Cricket here, said during an interaction here on Thursday.
"It's crazy to blame the Indian Premier League because if you have a look at the Test team, there's only maybe (Ben) Stokes (Jonny) Bairstow and (Jos) Buttler who play the IPL. Hardly any of the Test team players play the IPL. So how can you blame the IPL? You can't blame the IPL. It's crazy," a former captain of the IPL's Delhi franchise added.
Off-the-field, the English cricketers were also mired in a controversy after a report claimed that there was a "drinking culture" in the team with the players and coaches drinking late into the night before police broke up the session.
Pietersen said there was no harm in it as the players are affected by the strict bio-bubble restrictions.
"It's stressful. It's incredibly stressful. I've never played in a bubble. I can't imagine but I think it must be very lonely. You're not allowed to go to coffee shops. You're not allowed to go down to the restaurants, you're not allowed to do anything. And what else do you do? So I'm sure that the guys must have tried to find some sort of social activities in whichever way that they deem fit," he said.
The 41-year-old had earlier urged radical changes in the red-ball format in England with a call to impose 'The Hundred' template on first-class games as he felt that the standard of County Championship has fallen down.
Asked whether he sees himself as a batting coach of the side one day, Pietersen said: "We'll see, we'll see. Maybe one day."
India, a global wildlife conservation leader
A wildlife conservationist, Pietersen also hailed India as a global leader in saving one-horned rhinos.
He had earlier praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for cracking down on poaching and protecting the wild animals of India after Assam reported only one death of rhino by poachers last year.
"Being a conservationist, I spend a lot of time in Africa.
The rhino population is declining there and in India, the rhino population is on the way up," he said.
"When I start to see the contrast between what's happening in Africa and India, I find India is a conservation leader.
"It's a global conservation leader and more power to India because that's the kind of stuff that I absolutely love," he said.