Delhi Daredevils have dared to start from scratch this season. When they decided to do away with Virender Sehwag, the team was left without a single big Indian player for youngsters to rally around.
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Instead, they went in with two big names from England and New Zealand to play the lead roles — Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor, the only two established international names in the squad. While one is bearing the brunt of falling out with the England Cricket Board, the other has brought his career on a smoother track after striking a truce with New Zealand Cricket over captaincy issues.
The Daredevils’ new road map to success banks on the leadership skills of these two players. “KP is a different leader now. He has grown as captain since he had a tough time as the England skipper in 2009. He has been interacting a lot with youngsters and getting to know the players. He is certainly not a problem child,” assistant coach Eric Simons said.
Now, Mohammed Shami happens to be the only Team India player in the Daredevils squad. “Having an Indian superstar has both pros and cons. Although Sehwag is a legend of the game and is someone to look up to for youngsters in the team, there are limitations too. For a young Indian player, there is a feeling that while dealing with Viru you have to somewhere hold yourself back. That isn’t there now because all of the Indian players are vying to get a spot in the national team. KP and Ross are doing a great job with them,” said the bowling coach, who has been with DD for four seasons, adding: “People just misunderstand KP.”
Incidentally, DD had opted to sell off Ross Taylor in the previous edition. Enjoying perhaps the best period of form now, Taylor asserts his ‘favourite franchise’ has its work cut out. “KP and Gary have their work cut out. Composition of the team is going to be difficult. As a foreign player, it is good to come and meet some of the younger players.
“They don’t have the bigger reputations of some of the other players but yeah, it has been great. Amazing to work with Kevin, too. It has been good around the group,” said Taylor, admitting that playing around KP will be key. “A lot of the time it does depend on the situation of the game. Sum up the situation and be smart in different situations. KP and I will have to do that.”
Taylor yearns to play a bigger role when it comes to getting along with the younger lot. “There is a thing about being an international player, about passing on the knowledge to youngsters. They will all be coming and asking questions,” he said.
Delhi Daredevils squad for IPL 7: Kevin Pietersen (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Murali Vijay, Manoj Tiwary, JP Duminy, Ross Taylor, Kedar Jadhav, Mayank Agarwal, Saurabh Tiwary, Milind Kumar, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Jimmy Neesham, Jayant Yadav, Quinton de Kock, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Wayne Parnell, Siddarth Kaul, Rahul Shukla, HS Sharath, Rahul Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem