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Kevin: Would like to lead DareDevils

Calcutta: Kevin Pietersen’s England career could well be as good as over after a disastrous Ashes series Down Under, but he looks forward to beginning a new journey for the Delhi DareDevils in this year’s IPL.

Pietersen was bought for a whopping Rs 9 crore by the DareDevils on Day I of the auction, in Bangalore. The franchise used the Right to Match card to retain Pietersen.

Not just scoring runs, but guiding and motivating the youngsters also assumes equal importance as far as Pietersen is concerned. Irrespective of whether he’s appointed captain, the dasher looks determined to establish himself as the go-to man in the team and prove his detractors wrong.

“I would like to be in a leadership role in some way or the other, whether it is captaincy or helping out the leader and the youngsters in the team,” Pietersen said on Thursday.

“Playing for the DareDevils has always been a wonderful experience for me… It’s just like family. We have a strong team this time around. It’s now a matter of gelling together as a unit. I’m sure we’ll all step up and deliver.”

For obvious reasons, it would be uncomfortable for the 33-year-old to say if he’s liked more in India than in England at present. Pietersen, however, chose a safe path for a reply. “I wouldn’t like to comment on this issue. But yes, playing in India and being here has always been an occasion I have enjoyed.”

For the Englishmen, he might be a disruptive force in the dressing room. But for the DareDevils support staff, Pietersen’s presence itself is intimidating for the opposition.

“KP himself was keen to come back here. Besides, we too had to make sure of his availability throughout the competition. His inclusion only strengthens our squad, adding to the quality in the team.

“Not just a frontliner for captaincy, but KP is one who can set up the game and even win it for his team,” coach Gary Kirsten said.

For his part, Pietersen, too, looks forward to work with the former India coach. “Gary has an outstanding cricketing brain. He is one of the coaches I wanted to work with.

“Hopefully, we will have a great run under him,” said Pietersen.

For sure, presence of a tactician in Kirsten will be a major boost for the DareDevils, who had put up an abysmal show in the previous IPL. Besides, the team also includes Ross Taylor, who surprisingly went unsold on the first day of the auction, and South African opener Quinton de Kock, who has been in top form lately, especially in the shorter format.

Kirsten, too, has hopes for the youngster.