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In Indian Premier League 7, a lot was expected from Kevin Pietersen. But the Delhi Daredevils skipper has failed to lit up the star-studded tournament. However, he sparkled for a brief period in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Delhi. Bharath Ramaraj explores whether Pietersen can build on his knock against Hyderabad, and do well during their upcoming matches.
Before the highly anticipated Indian Premier League (IPL) 7 commenced, there was considerable interest over Kevin Pietersen’s participation in IPL 7. He had just been shown the exit door by England think-tank, and to make it more interesting, Pietersen was appointed as the captain of Delhi Daredevils setup.
With the kind of aura surrounding the high impact player, there was a heightened expectation of him carrying Delhi to great heights. However, he didn’t take part in the first three games of IPL 2014 due to a finger injury, and then when he played for Delhi, he struggled to make an impact.
It has to be remembered that Pietersen since playing the final Test match for England against Australia at Sydney in January hadn’t taken part in a competitive game. All cricketers including the best in the business lose the plot, if they are out of match practice. This is what exactly happened with Pietersen.
Pietersen looked out of his depth, especially in the crucial game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and finally, lost his wicket to a silly run out. However, there were encouraging signs in the game played against Sunrisrs Hyderabad. Pietersen looked like his true domineering self, as he thwacked a few lofted strokes down the ground. When Pietersen plays shots down the ground by using his reach, it usually relates to him finding his touch back. In that game, he also generally picked the spinners from the hand. It was not the case during the previous games he played. It makes a major difference when a batsman starts to pick a spinner especially, when you play in the subcontinent.
There were occasions in Australia when he seemed to be struggling with his footwork. Maybe it was a case of him struggling with his knee problem or it was just a case of Pietersen going through a bad patch. It has to be remembered that he also suffered from Achilles’ injury in 2009. He certainly was far from his best, while playing in Australia.
By already losing seven of their games, Delhi won’t progress further in the tournament. But the beleaguered unit need to win a few matches to take something out of the tournament. For that to happen, they need Pietersen to fire on all cylinders. Pietersen at his very best is an asset to any Twenty20 (T20) side. Delhi management will be hoping that their captain can play at his majestic best during the next few games of IPL 7.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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