Sharjah: A new-look Delhi DareDevils will launch their IPL VII campaign against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) here on Thursday without the services of their star batsman and captain Kevin Pietersen, who has been ruled out because of an injury.
It will be a big setback for the DareDevils as Pietersen will be forced to sit out of the lung-opener because of a finger injury which is yet to heal completely. He is a doubtful starter for the second game as well.
Pietersen, who was bought by the DareDevils for Rs 9 crore, had sustained an injury on his little finger of the right hand during fielding drills with Surrey, at the Oval, last month.
In Pietersen’s absence, vice-captain Dinesh Karthik will lead the team against RCB, who have a star-studded line-up and will be keen to start their campaign on a high. RCB had won both their matches against the DareDevils in 2013.
“He did not play in the practice match and he won’t be considered for Thursday’s game. Karthik will captain the side,” Daredevils’ assistant coach Eric Simmons confirmed. “It is a setback for us because he is an important player in our set-up. It is a bit of a jolt for us, but what we did well during the auction was that we made sure that we had covered all the areas. I think we have got ample replacements whom we can consider during such situations. That is one of the strengths of the squad that we have put together,” Simons added.
According to Simons, Pietersen too is extremely disappointed on missing out. “It is tough for KP himself… He is someone who is very passionate. Even though he has not been able to take much part in the practice sessions, he has been there for all of them,” Simons said.
RCB, who have retained stars Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers for the seventh edition, broke bank for Yuvraj Singh after shelling out a whopping Rs 14 crore.
The team’s best finish was the runners-up trophy in 2011. They did not go beyond the qualifying stages in the 2013 season.
The Vijay Mallya-owned outfit is once again looking good with Ravi Rampaul, Mitchell Starc and Shadab Jakati on the list of promising buys this season.