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IPL Staff in Mumbai 09 April 2014 - 12:25pm IST

Captain Pietersen set to revive Daredevils

Former England batsman says he has no point to prove with IPL performance

As Kevin Pietersen arrived in India to take over as the Delhi Daredevils captain, he looked fresh and eager to take the cricket field after an unexpected but welcome break. Pietersen said he will play the IPL only for his team and himself and the thought of proving a point to his England detractors will not be on his mind.

"The break away from cricket has been fantastic and I'm really looking forward to playing in the IPL,” Pietersen said. “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 referring to his axe from the England cricket team.

The dashing batsman said he is even keener to perform for the Daredevils this year given he couldn’t join the team the last IPL due to injury.
"I find the opportunity of again playing in the IPL really nice especially because I missed the last season due to injury and 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,"

The Daredevils have gone for a complete revamp this year, deciding not to retain any player ahead of the 2014 Player Auction. Pietersen, who was bought back at the auction, is pleased with the squad put together by the franchise.

"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,” Pietersen said.

DD’s new skipper has already started to form a strong professional relationship with the new coach, Gary Kirsten, in the endeavor to revive the Daredevils this year, after their bottom finish last season.

"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. Both he 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.

"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.

This will be IPL’s first UAE sojourn, one that the everyone involved is really excited about. Pietersen feels there will not be much difference cricket-wise as the wickets in UAE are similar to those in 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."

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