In the absence of a Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik and Kevin Pietersen will be the front-runners to lead Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League this season, according to coach Gary Kirsten. Speaking on a TV channel during Day 2 of the players' auction in Bangalore on Thursday, Kirsten said Karthik and Pietersen, the highest paid players in the Delhi squad, will be assuming leadership roles. (Pietersen, Karthik bought by Daredevils)
"Kevin Pietersen, Dinesh Karthik are frontline options for captaincy. Karthik also gives us the option as an extra wicketkeeper and he is experienced in this format," said Kirsten. (IPL auction Day 1 highlights)
Kirsten, in his maiden IPL auction, said he is pleased to have Pietersen back in the team after being bought for Rs 9 crore. "I'm happy with the balance in side. KP, our big ticket player, was keen to come back," the former South African opener and India's World Cup-winning coach said.
Even though Delhi lost out after making a dash for Yuvraj Singh, the costliest player of the tournament bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for a record Rs 14 crore, Kirsten feels Delhi have the depth in their team with several young and talented buys.
However, Kirsten was all praise for Yuvraj, having seen him from close in the Indian team. "Yuvraj really brings balance to side with his left-arm bowling. He is a match-winner. It would have been nice to have him, but we lost out to Bangalore".
The former South African coach explained the logic behind selecting pacers in the Delhi team. "There is a possibility that the tournament may be held in South Africa should the dates clash with elections in India. So the pacers will come handy," Kirsten explained.
Kirsten also hailed rising South African talent Quinton de Kock, who was bought for Rs 5.40 crore, and said it would be interesting to see how the young left-hander fared in this format. "De Kock can score tons in all formats, he is great talent in South Africa, but is untested in IPL."
Kirsten said IPL has helped Indian cricket and the game as a whole. "IPL has exposed the guys to high-level of competition," he said.
Delhi finished at the bottom of the table last season. Their best performance was finishing fourth in the 2012 edition. They have never made it to the final of the IPL. The task will be cut out for Kirsten and team this time.