London:Kevin Pietersen was born too late to experience the last limited-overs revolution that reshaped cricket.
The England batsman expects to be in the thick of the next one, though.
A creative strokemaker with a high strike rate, Pietersen has become one of the best exponents of the One-Day International game that evolved rapidly after Australian media mogul Kerry Packer launched his World Series Cricket in the late 1970s to combat flagging ratings for Test matches.
And those traits that work in the 50-over game are perfect for the even-more condensed Twenty20 version, which is bringing in unprecedented cash for players and increased exposure for the game at an exponential rate.
"I do think Twenty20 will be the new form of One-day cricket, for sure," said Pietersen, who was born in South Africa in 1980. "I reckon in the next couple of years, 50 overs is probably going to be something of the past."
Pietersen envisages cricket tapping new markets, particularly in the wake of Texan billionaire Allen Stanford launching to great fanfare at Lord's this week his US$20 million winner-take-all Twenty20 match between England and a West Indies XI, to be played every November for five years.
"It is one of those situations where Twenty20 could filter into America. I see Allen Stanford has mentioned that as well and I believe that can happen," Pietersen said in a television interview Saturday on the eve of England's ODI series against New Zealand. "It is positive for cricket. It is getting front and back-page coverage in the papers. The last time we saw that was when we won that amazing series against Australia three years ago."
English cricket was in decline until an upset win in 2005 over Australia in the Ashes series, winning back the prize after two decades in one of the oldest rivalries in sport.
The players were feted by thousands of fans during parades in London and awarded high civil awards by the queen.
Interest starting waning again as England slipped back down the Test and limited-overs world rankings _ until last week.
The prize for each player on the winning team in Antigua on Nov. 1 will be US$1 million _ a massive payday for three hours work. On top of that, salaries exceeding US$1 million for six weeks of work are on offer in the lucrative Indian Premier League that was launched this season with TV rights in excess of 1 billion dollars over 10 years and the eight franchises going for up to US$110 million.
And more international competitions are planned, featuring club and provincial teams, as well as the Twenty20 World Cup.
Suddenly, Twenty20 is on the tip of commentators and cricket players' tongues all around the world. The standard one-day game now lasts between seven and eight hours and the pinnacle is the World Cup every four years.
Pietersen thinks that format is getting tired, while the shorter timeframe for Twenty20 is booming in popularity.
"I don't think the 50-over game has had its day yet," Pietersen said. "But I think in terms of everything going on now with Twenty20, the financial rewards the players get, and the tournaments coming up and the interest created and the audience it grabs, then maybe so in a couple of years. Not right now _ but in a couple of years.
"What Twenty20 will do is speed up all parts of cricket because guys are going out there to entertain, to score a lot quicker."
Despite the big rewards, Pietersen is not going to jeopardize his Test career _ saying the five-day game is still the pinnacle of international cricket _ but might be prepared to forgo the Stanford match each year for a more regular day job in the IPL.
Contracted England Test players were excluded from the debut season of the IPL because the season clashed, meaning Pietersen missed the chance to compete against most of the world's leading players in the six-week tournament.
"Will the Stanford deal make it more or less likely I will go to the IPL? That Stanford game, I see it as an absolute bonus for an England player," he said. "It will be a great occasion but it is a one-off fixture this year and if we lose, we come home with a tour fee.
"In contrast, the IPL money is guaranteed in terms of what you do. The Stanford game we will treat with as high a regard as we can but, if we walk away having lost, then we can say it was just a bonus because he could have chosen anybody."
Other players have said the nerves will be high before the game with so much at stake, but Pietersen says the pressure will be commensurate with experience.
"I play like I play every single day. If you play well, play great cricket, entertain, average 50 in (different) forms of the game, your bank balance looks after itself," he said. "You can't think this is a game that you have to make sure you win to set yourself up for life. No, if you do well over a 10-year period playing for England right now, you will be financially sorted."