The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 9 , 2014
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‘Have nothing to prove’

- Daredevils have a good blend of youth & experience: KP
Kevin Pietersen during IPL 2012

New Delhi: Kevin Pietersen, former England captain, on Tuesday said he will not use the upcoming Indian Premier League to “prove anything” to his detractors.

A little more than two months after his international career was put to an abrupt end by the England and Wales Cricket Board, Pietersen said he has already accepted the harsh reality that he won’t be playing for his country again and was trying to move on.

“The break away from cricket has been fantastic and I’m really looking forward to playing in the IPL. What transpired in March has nothing to do with what I’m about to do now. I’m not out here to make any point and neither do I play cricket for that reason,” he said at a media interaction here.

“I find the opportunity of again playing in the IPL really nice, especially because I missed the last season due to injury. It is also due to the fact that I absolutely love the competition. I’ve played in every part of the world and after playing for almost a decade, I don’t think I need to prove anything to anyone,” added Pietersen, who will lead Delhi DareDevils in IPL VII.

The 33-year-old all-rounder, who is Delhi’s second costliest purchase at $1.5 million behind his deputy Dinesh Karthik, brought at a price of $2.08 million, sounded confident about team’s chances in the tournament.

“We’re bringing together a talented side. It comprises a good blend of experience and youth — all international, Indian and domestic players. The most important task is to make everyone feel like it’s their own team,” Pietersen said.

“According to me, the key to success this time around would be to make sure that the management, the captain and the coach understands each player and let every single individual be themselves. Also, the idea will be to train well in whatever way we can and try to perform to the best of our abilities.”

Delhi, who finished at the bottom in last year’s IPL, will be coached by Gary Kirsten. Pietersen said they have already started planning for the tournament.

“I flew to Cape Town a couple of weeks ago to meet Gary and we went through the whole schedule. We both synced on many levels and our ambition is to get every player to be at their best,” he said.

“Both him and I are aware that some players will do well and some won’t. But that’s understandable in this format. So if we have a few players not performing well, the others will and we’re looking forward to it and grooming them in the best possible way,” Pietersen said.

Pietersen, who represented England in 104 Tests, doesn’t believe that having an entirely new-look squad will work against Delhi in this year’s IPL.

“Once we reach Dubai on Saturday, we have a good three or four days during which we will play a few practice matches in order to help us get into the groove.

“I think this would give us a nice little opportunity to build a team together over the next 10 days and then set a platform from where we can proceed further,” he said.

For the first time, the IPL is heading to the UAE, a place which is completely a new territory for most of the Indian players. But Pietersen feels the conditions in Dubai are similar to that of India. “Dubai is fairly similar but the wicket in Abu Dhabi tends to be slow and low. I’ve played on that wicket a few times and it’s a bit tricky,” he said.

“In terms of conditions, Abu Dhabi is totally different from Dubai. Although I haven’t played in Sharjah but Mushi (Mushtaq Ahmed) says it’s the flattest wicket in the world. Hence, our batsmen will fancy their chances; can’t say the same for the bowlers though.”