Decimated in their most recent Indian Premier League match, there is some good news for the beleaguered Delhi Daredevils with their injured English skipper Kevin Pietersen saying that he expects to be fit for the team's next game in Dubai. "I don't know if they are missing me. This is a long tournament; we've played three matches and won one...As for me, I'm going to hopefully be back in the next game," Pietersen, who had been nursing a finger injury, told the IPL's official website.
Delhi will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in their next match on April 25. "I have trained a couple of days, but it hasn't been an ideal start going into this tournament. I had good practice for a couple of weeks in London, but then hurt myself and have had three weeks off," the attacking batsman said. (Also read: CSK crush Daredevils | Highlights)
Delhi were quite literally thrashed by Chennai Super Kings last night, losing by 93 runs in a lopsided game. Even though he has not been able to play, Pietersen said he has tried to keep the team motivated in the dugout.
"It's imperative for me to play a significant role as a senior figure in the dressing room. You need to reach out to the players and help them out. Yes, I have handed the reigns of the team to DK (Dinesh Karthik) but I've also got to help him.
"We're all a part of the senior group in the squad and the onus is on us to look after each other. The young guys need guidance from us and we too need to know how they want to go about things," he said. (Related: Dwayne Bravo out of IPL with shoulder injury)
Asked if he has been playing a role in the on-field decision-making as well, Pietersen said, "Not really, that's all DK. We can only talk about what might happen out there and put some ideas forward. When the team crosses the rope, it's DK who takes it all out there and runs the show as he seems fit for the team." Pietersen also spoke about his experience of working under coach Gary Kirsten.
"Gary is people's person. He's fantastic to be around. He's one of those guys with whom you want to hang around; he's infectious. He's got such a calming influence, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, you get the same positive vibes from him.
"I think that's really important for the players and especially for the youngsters. You don't want a coach who gets jittery and goes up, down and all over the place," said the batsman. (Read: Dhoni the only leader in team of captains, says McCullum)
On his expectations from the team, Pietersen said he wants the players to play their best without feeling under pressure. "I want all the guys in the team to know that there is no pressure. I want all the players to relax and play to the best of their ability. Another important thing for me as a leader is that the guys train well. According to me, the training should be so thorough and intense that the game-day becomes easier," he said.
"If you prepare well, you cannot ask for anything more off yourself; there will be no pressure. If you go into the game knowing that you've done all the correct things off the field, who are we to complain about what happens on the field?" he added.