IPL 2014 news April 13, 2014

Delhi Daredevils fret over Pietersen's fitness

Kevin Pietersen's taped little finger on the right hand is giving Delhi Daredevils some anxious moments, four days ahead of the their first match in the IPL. Pietersen, appointed the captain by the franchise, arrived last week in Delhi to join the squad with what is being described as a "niggle" in his finger. He subsequently avoided batting during the training sessions in Delhi. Pietersen continued to wrap his last two fingers on his right hand during the team's training sessions to raise concerns.

However, Daredevils' chief executive Hemant Dua remained confident on Pietersen being fit for the team's first match on April 17 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah. "He has said he will be fine. He has done a little bit of batting," Dua said. According to Mail Today, Pietersen is carrying a fracture but Dua was not ready to ring out the alarm bells yet. "I can't comment on that. He hasn't told me that he will not be playing the first game. It is a niggle he has told me."

Pietersen himself has sounded relaxed about the taped finger and even joked that he would avoid shaking hands in public as it would aggravate his injury. "I hit my little finger last week, but I will be okay. Just protecting it ( with the bandage covering) so I won't be shaking hands with anybody ( laughs) in the next few weeks. It's just a niggle, but I will be good," Pietersen had told the Mail earlier this week.

The tournament will be Pietersen's return to active cricket since his England contract was abruptly terminated by the ECB in February, less than a week before the IPL player auction. The sack, though, did not hurt Pietersen's stock at all as Daredevils bought him for INR 9 crore (US $ 1.4 million) and a month later, unveiled him as the franchise captain.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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