‘Amateurish’ is the word that aptly summed up Kevin Pietersen’s dismissal on Wednesday. The word was used by a little-known state cricketer who probably doesn’t hold the license to tear into a player like KP.
The dismissal was bizarre — the Delhi Daredevils skipper tapped and ran without once looking up or back, and it was too late when he noticed that non-striker Murali Vijay had not even stirred out of his crease. For lesser mortals, their place in the playing eleven would be in jeopardy.
Thousands of miles away, Andy Flower, sacked as England coach while the player he detested also lost his place, could have felt vindicated as a string of failures has raised serious questions about the focus and fitness of the Delhi Daredevils skipper.
Ahead of the season, before they left for the UAE, Daredevils coach Gary Kirsten was asked why the team chose as captain a player who has had serious issues with his national side. Kirsten, who shares a good equation with KP, smiled, and said the feedback he had received was that KP is an outstanding contributor as a player and a role model for youngsters.
Well, Kirsten will surely be concerned at least about the first part. Pietersen missed the first three matches due to a finger injury, and has aggregated a paltry 62 in the last five matches. While openers Quinton de Kock and Vijay are doing their bit and Dinesh Karthik, JP Duminy and Kedar Jadhav too are chipping in, KP has failed to be the fulcrum of the innings in the middle overs. And it is clear that his weaknesses are being found out.
No sooner had he come on to bat, KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir pressed his spinners into action. KP tried to get off the strike only to be run out.
Asked whether KP is able to help players gel together and why he has not looked inspirational on the field, DD’s South Africa paceman Wayne Parnell was defensive. “It is a bit different looking from the outside, but on the field, there is energy. (But) yeah, runs haven’t really come for him.”
In the previous game, when DD racked up 170, he made a duck, bowled off an innocuous delivery. But his bowlers made a hash of it, and combined with the lack of cohesiveness on the field it allowed CSK to chase down the target.
The same thing happened on Wednesday. Barring an odd pat for a player, KP didn’t really look involved and didn’t show imagination as a leader.
The toss was a case in point. After winning his first toss this season, KP elected to bat. Parnell was asked why he chose to bowl second despite knowing that he doesn’t have the bowlers who can defend a total. Parnell was also asked why Kedar Jadhav and JP Duminy, their outstanding performers, are always slotted to bat so low down the order.
Parnell, non-plussed, left it for Kirsten to answer. It only raised more questions about KP’s leadership as Delhi, for the second year, are in danger of finishing last in the table.