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Vice-captain Dinesh Karthik to lead the side in his absence
By IPL Staff
Dubai 16 April 2014
Delhi Daredevils captain Kevin Pietersen will miss the side’s opening game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday. Pietersen is believed to have injured his finger during a practice drill and will be forced to watch the game from the sidelines. “He did not play in the practice match and he won’t be considered for tomorrow’s game. Dinesh Karthik will captain the side,” Delhi Daredevils’ assistant coach, Eric Simmons, confirmed.
“It is a setback for us because he is an important player in our setup. 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 about who we can consider during such situations, and that was one of the strengths of the squad that we have put together,” he added.
Not just the team, but even Pietersen was disappointed on missing out since he has been looking forward to playing for a long time now. “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. He is enthusiastic about his new role for the Delhi Daredevils this year, and it is disappointing for him as much as it is for us,” Simmons said.
When asked about the time Pietersen would take to recover and if he has been going through the practice drills, Simmons said, “We would take it one game at a time and see how Pietersen progresses each morning. He has been doing some work with the bat – some drills more than anything else, but nothing too strenuous with the bat.”
Pietersen’s absence will be felt, but Simmons was of the view that he had a bigger role in the Daredevils setup. “He has been with us over the last two IPL seasons and has been an amazing influence. He has been an inspiration for a lot of players in the team, and the confidence he passes on to others is infectious. Not just for the runs, but KP has played a major role for us and it has been exactly the same this time around. The relationship that he has with the players has a very positive influence on the team from a cricketing perspective and the team culture.”
That aside, the team has a match to play and it will be crucial for them to start off on a positive note. And coach Simmons was happy with his team’s preparations leading up to the first game.
“We were very pleased with the practice match the other day. We had some good learning from it, which is important from the team’s perspective to get a sense of the new unit. Hopefully, that is going to give us some momentum going into the first few matches. I think the team that arrives back in India with a healthy win record in this portion will have some momentum going into India.”
Simmons also felt that the spinners will play a vital role in the IPL. “The spinners play a crucial role in the IPL in India and it will be no different here. We have got quality spinners in our side like Rahul Sharma and an excellent left arm spinner in Shahbaz Nadeem. We also have JP Duminy who can bowl some off-spin for us. When KP gets fit, his bowling will also come in handy because he has an ability to get spin and bounce. I have a very simple game plan about spinners in T20 cricket and I would like to believe it has worked successfully in the past and we won’t deviate from that.”
Pepsi IPL 2014 declared open with a glittering ceremony
Cricketers and Bollywood stars regale the audience with their brilliance
By IPL Staff
Abu Dhabi 16 April 2014
The seventh season of Pepsi Indian Premier League was flagged off in Abu Dhabi with an opening event rich in cricketing pedigree as well as a generous dose of fun and frolic.
It began with a welcome note by H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development, in which he spoke of the UAE’s determination as a nation to move forward in the sporting field.
Then it was time for host, Ravi Shastri to invite the eight IPL captains to vow their allegiance to maintain the integrity of cricket by signing the MCC Spirit of Cricket plaque.
Staying with the subject of cricket’s pride, Sunil Gavaskar, interim President, BCCI-IPL, delivered a passionate speech about how he and his colleagues at the BCCI intend to take every possible measure to eradicate the very shadow of corruption from the sport. Mr. Gavaskar appealed cricket fans all over the world to maintain their faith in cricket and believe in its sanctity.
After the serious business, it was time for some entertainment. There was a light and sound show which depicted traditions and cultures of the UAE and India and merged them together to bring out a seamless bond between the two nations.
Then it was the time for some Bollywood style masti as the gorgeous Indian actress, Deepika Padukone sizzled the stage with a sassy number that mesmerized the audience.
The last but by no means the least individual to take the stage was Shah Rukh Khan. The popular actor and the co-owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders had the audience in splits with a sense of humour appealing the masses. He invited cricketers on the stage – Shane Watson played the guitar and sang a song, Virat Kohli had banter with Khan and MS Dhoni regaled his fans with his boyish charm.
The glorious evening came to a glorious end with the most brilliant and beautiful fireworks that brightened the moods of the beholders, thereby declaring Pepsi IPL 2014 open.