Former England batter Kevin Pietersen is not surprised at Virat Kohli's decision to quit captaincy.

“I am not surprised that Virat decided to take that extra pressure off; it is difficult to play in these bubbles,” Pietersen, who is here to play for the World Giants in the Legends League Cricket, said on Thursday.

“I have got close friends in golf, football and other sports and they are some of the best players in the world. They say it is difficult to play under the conditions in the last couple of years.”

Pietersen said it wasn’t right to judge a sportsperson’s performance during the pandemic. “It is very unfair and too harsh and too critical,” he said. “Virat needs crowds for his juice to get going. He is an entertainer. So people who are critical of modern sportsmen (under these circumstances) are foolish. These bubbles are very hard to play in, and I have been in a couple of them for the broadcast. It is incredibly difficult.”

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Pietersen is looking forward to Rahul Dravid’s progress as India’s coach. “He is a good friend,” said Pietersen. “He has done wonders for India’s youngsters, and I am looking forward to his progress with the senior players.”

As for the captaincy, he feels India is spoilt for choice. “You have got Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul,” he said. “I have always loved the Hitman. He is a fabulous player. His captaincy has been great for Mumbai Indians. (As for) Rishabh Pant, not yet, but maybe one day yes.”

He said it was stupid to blame the IPL for the demolition of England in the Ashes. “Very few of them play in the IPL,” he said.

The writer is in Muscat at the invitation of Legends League Cricket