Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Indian Premier League: Kevin Pietersen brings a lot to the table, says TA Sekhar

Kevin Pietersen will now play the complete season of this edition of the Indian Premier League (File) Kevin Pietersen will now play the complete season of this edition of the Indian Premier League (File)
Written by Nihal Koshie | New Delhi | Posted: February 19, 2014 4:10 pm

TA Sekhar, a director on the board of the Delhi Daredevils, talks to The Indian Express why the Indian Premier League team didn’t retain any players going into the auction and how they went about rebuilding the team after a poor 2013 season.

What was the thinking at the end of the previous IPL?

At the end of the last season, we had a team review. The thinking ahead of the auction was that we should build the team from scratch. That is why we decided to go to the auction with our full purse, which meant that we could get the players we wanted. Though I may sound biased as I am with the Delhi Daredevils, I think we have a well-balanced squad.

What were your problem areas in the previous season when the Daredevils won just three games?

We were lacking in quality India-International players, as we had only Virender Sehwag in that category. Last year, our fast bowlers were also coming off injury, be it Varun Aaaron, Umesh Yadav or Irfan Pathan. Kevin Pietersen too was injured, so our best players were not always available and also were not 100 per cent fit. Plus, we also needed quality India-International players to build a strong team.

Your foundation for the rebuilding of the Delhi Daredevils is the Kevin Pietersen-Gary Kirsten combination.

We started off by roping in Gary Kirsten (head coach). He didn’t renew his contract with Cricket South Africa and it presented us with an opportunity. Coaching in the IPL is very different from coaching a national team as there are players from different countries and cultures. Gary, with his man-management skills and proven credentials as a coach with India, was the best option for us. He has the ability to communicate his coaching philosophy to a budding Indian player as well as he does with an international star. Aashish Kapoor (sports administrator), Eric Simons (assistant coach) and I, along with Gary, decided on the kind of players we must target during the auction. We wanted 16 players and I can say we got 13 of them.

With regard to Pietersen, did the happenings in the England dressing room force you to have a rethink on him?

Actually, once he was no longer part of the England set-up, it was clear that he would be available for the entire season and that made it even more important to have Pietersen in the team. For us, what happened in the England dressing room didn’t change our opinion of Pietersen. When it comes to the Delhi Daredevils, KP has been fantastic. Two seasons ago, he won matches for us off his own bat. But what was equally important, was his contribution when it came to working with the younger players. Even when he continued…

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