Kevin Pietersen is likely to captain Bangalore Royal Challengers for the first three weeks of this IPL season for which he is available. Pietersen will then hand over the leadership to Rahul Dravid or Mark Boucher, a team source said.
“This scenario is a very strong possibility but a final decision is yet to be taken,” the source said. “Shane Warne was denied the captaincy in Australia, and look what he did in the IPL last year (Warne’s Rajasthan Royals won the tournament). We expect KP will have a point to prove too with regards to captaincy, and that will only benefit the team.”
Vijay Mallya, the team’s owner, had hinted at a change of captaincy after the player auction in Goa last week when he bought Pietersen for a record US$ 1.55 million. “The captaincy options are open,” Mallya said. “The team management will take a decision on it.”
Dravid, the former India captain, had led the Royal Challengers last year when the team finished seventh out of eight – they were also tagged as a Test XI, including the likes of Jacques Kallis, and Wasim Jaffer.
This time, after Pietersen leaves for the home series against West Indies starting May 6, the team will be led by Dravid, if he is available, or Boucher. Dravid’s wife is expecting their second child in the first week of May, and franchise officials are unsure whether he will be available during that period. “After Pietersen and Dravid, Boucher has been identified as a strong captaincy option,” the source said. This year’s IPL will run from April 10-May 24 but officials are yet to release the final schedule.
Meanwhile, Ray Jennings, the Bangalore coach, feels that Pietersen would succeed as captain of his team even if it is for the short-term. Pietersen had a very short stint as England captain last year but resigned just before the ongoing tour of West Indies. “Kevin may work really well as captain for a short period,” Jennings told the Times. “A small amount of time means a limited amount of time for things to go wrong. Captains often have that honeymoon period anyway.
“We bought Kevin to improve our whole profile, which goes beyond cricket. Kevin has great, eye-catching cricketing skills. He is also a very marketable guy. He is a product who can go across India and he might be an ideal captain over four weeks or so.”