Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has agreed to a two-year deal with the Melbourne Stars in the KFC T20 Big Bash League.
Pietersen will line up for the Stars – who went undefeated in the regular season earlier this year before crashing out in the finals – for BBL|04 and BBL|05.
“I’m very excited about joining the Melbourne Stars and look forward to playing with some of Australia’s best T20 cricketers,” Pietersen said.
“Joining the Melbourne Stars was an easy choice for me when you look at the players we have and the amazing off-field support staff, and don’t forget our home ground, the MCG.”
Pietersen, 34, was controversially dumped from the England side as part of the fallout from last summer’s Ashes whitewash after 104 Tests, 136 ODIs and 37 T20 internationals.
He led Delhi Daredevils throughout this year’s Indian Premier League season, and is set to join St Lucia Zouks for the current Caribbean Premier League season.
“KP’s an awesome talent and a proven world-class cricketer across all forms of the game,” said recently appointed Stars chairman of selectors, Damien Fleming.
“Someone of his experience will be of great benefit to our club as we strive to go one step further in BBL|04.”
Outspoken and occasionally controversial, Pietersen will no doubt polarise the fans throughout BBL|04, but Stars coach Greg Shipperd is excited by the prospect of having the gifted right-hander in his corner.
“We are delighted to have Kevin as a Melbourne Star,” Shipperd said.
“He’s a proven competitor and I am confident that he will revel in the fiercely competitive atmosphere of the BBL.”
Taking his spot among some of the world’s best T20 batsmen including David Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, fellow Englishman Luke Wright and captain Cameron White, Pietersen adds quality and experience to an already impressive batting line-up.
“We’re really looking forward to Kevin being part of our club,” said White.
“He’s a tremendous addition to the squad and will fit in really well, and he’ll hopefully provide us the edge to go deeper into the tournament this year.”
The signing of Kevin Pietersen means the Stars now have 13 players officially listed for BBL|04, and CEO Clint Cooper said the signing was a huge coup that he hoped would make up for the loss of local favourites Brad Hodge and Matt Wade.
“Being able to finally secure Kevin is massive for our club, especially for our members, given some recent post-season defections,” Cooper said.
“We have no doubt that Kevin will be a huge hit on and off the field, right across Australia this summer and can’t wait to see him take on the BBL’s best.
“Personally, I cannot wait to see Kevin walk out to a packed MCG to cheers of our members and fans.”
Pietersen replaces Lasith Malinga as the Stars’ second international player after Malinga was made unavailable for the BBL tournament due to his World Cup preparations.