The Telegraph
Thursday , April 10 , 2014
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Looking forward to working with KP as captain: Kirsten

- Plan & strategy will change from game to game, says Gary
Gary Kirsten

New Delhi: Kevin Pietersen’s international career has run into rough weather, but the former England captain is least bothered with it and has already said that he is not eyeing the upcoming seventh edition of the IPL as a platform to answer critics.

And Pietersen’s job at the Delhi DareDevils will be easier because his coach, Gary Kirsten, too isn’t bothered about the controversies surrounding the exciting batsman.

On Wednesday, Kirsten made it clear he was very happy to have Pietersen as the captain of the team and hoped that his availability for the entire duration of the tournament will have a positive impact on the team.

“I am looking forward to working with Pietersen as the captain… It will be great to have him with us for the full duration of the IPL and he would no doubt leave a positive and significant impact on the team. The feedback that I got from the team management was that he had been an outstanding cricketer and contributor to the team,” Kirsten, who had coached India to glory in the 2011 World Cup, said.

The DareDevils, who had a disastrous campaign in the last edition of the tournament, have several new faces in the squad as they didn’t retain any player before this year’s auction.

Star opener Virender Sehwag is no longer with the DareDevils, but players like Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwari, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Mohammed Shami have been roped in by the franchise. They have also bought back the talented Kedhar Jadhav and the explosive Ross Taylor.

Asked on the new-look squad, Kirsten said that the team management had decided to work with a new team during the auction only. “Don’t know whether it’s a right decision or not, but that’s what we have gone for,” he said.

The coach also said that the team’s strategy will change from game to game. “A single strategy is not going to be my idea… We will formulate different strategies… Game plan and strategy will change from game to game,” he stressed.

With the IPL going through a lot of turbulence in the last one year, Kirsten feels that every effort should be made to clean up things.

“Unfortunately, the controversy happened and it’s not a nice element… The game certainly needs to be cleaned up… Whatever can be done to champion the cause of a cricket, should be done,” he said.

Kirsten, however, refused to comment on the criticism that Yuvraj Singh has been facing after his below par performance in the World T20 final. “I will only talk on the DareDevils,” he clarified.

The South African said he was happy to return to India as the coach of the DareDevils. “It’s nice to be back… I have some very fond memories of India from my three years with the Indian team. I always anticipated that I would be back here.

“I have enjoyed my time in this country. It is nice to be part of the IPL and be involved with Indian cricket again. I love watching T20 cricket… Didn’t miss many matches in the previous editions,” he added.

Meanwhile, at the DareDevils’ practice session on Wednesday, spinners Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Sharma had 30-odd minutes of ‘spot bowling’.

The DareDevils’ spin bowling department is relatively weaker and perhaps that’s the reason why Nadeem and Sharma were the only two bowlers who sweated it out for a longer session.