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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Cricket

Daredevils' leadership safe in KP's hands: Gary Kirsten
HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 10, 2014
First Published: 00:50 IST(10/4/2014)
Last Updated: 09:48 IST(10/4/2014)

What was being speculated about as an ideal combination for the English team this summer, was at work at the Palam grounds in the Capital.

A section of the English press reported that Gary Kirsten refused to take over as England coach as he wasn't given the freedom to decide on Kevin Pietersen, who was considered a 'disruptive force' by the team management and therefore axed.

With the two in Delhi Daredevils' colours this season at the IPL, Kirsten, as he took charge of the team on Wednesday, felt the leadership is safe in KP's hands.

"The feedback I have received is that he has been an outstanding player and contributor to the team (Daredevils) in the past seasons. So, there is no reason why he shouldn't be there," Kirsten said, defending the Daredevils' decision to install the South Africa-born English batsman as skipper and whether Pietersen's run-in with the English board made the decision risky for the franchise.

The two discussed a few things on Wednesday, which was more of a familiarisation process with a game of football and some catching practice among the players, most of who attended the session.

All eyes on the duo
With just a few big names in this side as the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Virender Sehwag and Morne Morkel weren't retained, the captain-coach combine will have to do the bulk of the work.

"Yeah, we are working together as a team and have aligned ourselves. There has been a discussion on the team," said Kirsten.

The Daredevils' decision to not retain players other than Pietersen has been to give the squad 'a fresh look' and avoid the baggage from last year where certain issues crept in.

One of the challenges could be their bowling attack. With the World T20 showing that spinners have a key role to play on slow surfaces, the Daredevils find themselves without a specialist spinner of repute. They have left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, leg-spinner Rahul Sharma as the main men while JP Duminy too can chip in.

"Well, we don't want three specialist spinners. We also have Duminy," said Kirsten. "But we have got a good balance in the team and options in various areas."

Having coached the India team successfully, Kirsten feels the new job is different. "It is quicker and there is more intensity. But I have been following T20 cricket."


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