IPL 2014 April 10, 2014

'A privilege to work with Kirsten' - Pietersen

ESPNcricinfo staff

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'Still hopeful of playing for England' - Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen, the new captain of Delhi Daredevils, has rated Gary Kirsten as the No.1 coach at the moment, and said the franchise is lucky to have the South African in its coaching staff, as it looks to rebuild after a poor 2013 season. Pietersen was speaking to ESPNcricinfo during a live video chat on Thursday where he took questions from fans via Twitter.

Kirsten, who had earlier coached India and his native South Africa, was appointed Daredevils' head coach for 2014 last September. Pietersen, who had represented Daredevils in previous seasons, was named captain last month. Pietersen said his interactions with Kirsten over the last few days, with the squad assembling ahead of the start of IPL 2014, have been "fantastic."

"Gary and I sing off a similar hymn sheet. It's an absolute privilege to work with Gary," Pietersen said. "He is probably rated the No.1 coach at the moment. Delhi are very fortunate to have Gary. He's got the personality that makes you want to really be successful for him and the franchise. He makes you feel happy about yourself.

"When he talks he means it and everything that comes out of his mouth makes sense. It has been fantastic working with him so far. We will do whatever we can to prepare ourselves the right way so we can have a fun competition."

Pietersen had had a shortlived stint as England captain and also had a brief period at the helm of Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2009. Now in his second time leading an IPL franchise, Pietersen said his outlook towards the job has changed since his early days, by drawing on his experiences in dealing with different people.

"I think my mindset has changed a hell of a lot. When I was thrust into the England captaincy, it was very difficult at that stage as I hadn't been through a load of processes and I've had a load of ups and downs since then," Pietersen said. "Only when you reach good heights and reasonably low lows do you understand everybody and everything. When you have a family you understand families, when you have kids you understand kids.

"When I took over the England captaincy I hadn't experienced a lot of those things. For me, understanding people, managing people and getting to grips with how everybody's feeling over a 6-8 week period is vitally important in making sure we are all happy and everyone's fighting for one result. The last 24-48 hours with these guys has been fascinating, in terms of achieving the goal. We can all learn from each other."

With the IPL's credibility hit by last year's spot-fixing scandal, Pietersen said it was important for players to remember why they took to the game in the first place and not worry about off-field issues.

"I hope I can speak for all players that we play this game because we love this game. It gives incredible highs, and lows too. You have to expect that. You go out there and play to the best of your ability and you just hope that people aren't putting a black line through days that you spend enjoying and having fun. Anything that happens in terms of the nonsense away from the field, we can't go in to that. We just have to be honest with ourselves and each other."

Pietersen, whose international career was put to an abrupt end by the ECB, however, hasn't given up hope on playing for England again. "I thought my time was up when things happened in January," he said. "But I love playing cricket and I am still hopeful of playing cricket for England again one day so I'm going to do everything I can to play to the best of my ability."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on April 19, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    KP is such a wonderful talent and it would be a great misfortune not to see him playing for England. You want to see best players competing against each other. What KP may need are lessons on leadership, which he can gain aplenty in this stint with DD. All the best and hope he gains a lot and let's hope England sees the change to see him back.

  • Cam on April 12, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    The ECB sack KP and Kirsten has him as captain. The ECB couldn't attract any top coaches for the England job. KP might not play for England again but that doesn't change the fact he is their best player by a mile and the decision to sack him while retaining talentless chumps like Prior, Root, Bairstow, Bresnan etc was a terrible one. Normal service has resumed.

  • Jay on April 12, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    @Arrow011: It's up to each cricket board to properly respect and look after their star players. There was a time when the WICB mistreated Gayle. Hence, Gayle lost interest and had a fallout with the WICB. For a while it seemed he would cut short his international career. Thankfully, that didn't happen and he still wears the maroon jersey of the WI. The ECB should have handled KP better. Sure, he's an egotist but the ECB have bigger egos too along with their captain Cook and others in that side. So it was a two way war and KP sadly was alone. Now, he's a free agent and has gleefully accepted the captaincy of DD under Kirsten's watch. Contrary to what some KP naysayers say, they will all be glued to their TVs come the 16th of April.

  • Srinivas on April 12, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    Gary is known to be a Gentleman and KP is a guy who respects good people. KP is a no nonsense guy who doesn't like it when people go throwing their weight around. I love this combination of Kevin and Gary. Being one of the millions of KP fans in India, I wish him the very best. I would love for KP to become an Indian Citizen and settle down here. Lovely guy. Way to go KP. Though RR is my favourite team, my second favourite team is yours. Cheers....Come on Kevin, rub it in. The dinosaurs at ECB are watching anxiously for you to fail.....They all should fall flat on their faces by the time this IPL ends....

  • R on April 11, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    Whether you play for England or not, you still represent your country. I like that No 1 coach punch. It will alert lower ranked coaches.

  • Dummy4 on April 11, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    Sure, Kevin Pietersen.... Kirsten is great until he does something you don't like. Good thing the IPL is short. The other Delhi players might have enough patience to put up with him for just long enough. I think if Warner had stayed with DD, we might have seen some quick fireworks between these two.

  • Bhaskar on April 11, 2014, 16:15 GMT

    Hope KP's precious career does not go Pollard's way, the west indian has become a freelancer taking part in all T20 leagues the world over, same as Hodge & Gayle. Cricket will lose big time if world's best present day batsman also joins the mercenary cricketers list.

  • muz on April 11, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    DD are looking as strong as ever - but then they have always had an awsome batting line up which for some strange reason has ever achieved anything! Money is a powerful tool and will keep even the likes of KP in check I am sure he won't be tweeting or texting secrets to any of the opposition with 6 figure salary atrisk. He is an extremely talented player and it is a shame that we will not get to see him participating in any international cricket anytime soon! But on a positive note the England dressing room looked so much more relaxed without him - esp during the final match in the WT20 against netherlands! I could feel the Harmony amoungst the team all the way from the UK

  • Muhammad on April 11, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    We should be able to see some tight games and unexpected results at this year's IPL as a clean, uncorrupted IPL will have more than CSK and Daredevils with KP and GK are right there at the top.

  • Jay on April 11, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    I like this vibe from KP. It shows how much he adores a professional, yet free minded environment. Unlike, the dreaded ECB and England dressing room where he was treated poorly. I am sure Delhi will taste success under his leadership and Kirsten's watch. The dark days for DD are over. I strongly feel DD look good to make the playffs this year. Don't get fooled that they have no key Indian international players in their squad. The Rajasthan Royals didn't have anybody back in 2008, yet they won the championship.

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