Injuries have been DD’s bane

New Delhi: Delhi Daredevils have badly missed the flamboyance of Kevin Pietersen this season. And the talismanic player agrees that the unavailability of key players have left them hamstrung.

Talking to reporters after being unveiled as the brand ambassador for Citizen Watches on Friday, Pietersen said that Delhi still have a mathematical chance of making it to the play-offs and his absence shouldn’t be seen as a major hindrance.

“We had a slow start to the season and were unlucky with injuries. It’s flattering to hear that my absence is being felt but I don’t think that’s the only reason. We also didn’t have Viru (Sehwag) for the initial matches while Morne (Morkel) and Roelof (Van der Merwe) had domestic commitments.

Jesse’s (Ryder) pullout was also a big blow. But the boys are gaining confidence and mathematically, we can still make it,” Pietersen said.

The England player also lavished praise on India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and added that the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) were reaping the benefits of having a well-knit team over the years.

He also termed CSK as his favourite to bag the title. “CSK are led by a very clever skipper and they have got quality spinners, who have utilised their home conditions very well. Their foreign recruit Michael Hussey has also been outstanding and coach Stephen Fleming has also played an instrumental role. I would go with CSK for the title” the 32-year-old said.

The star batsman also expressed surprise at the dismal performance of defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR’s) this season. “I am very surprised with KKR’s performance, this season. Their team composition is perfect and considering the conditions in Kolkata, they have failed to utilise it properly,” he said.

On the chances of his Delhi teammates making it to the Champions Trophy team, Pietersen sounded confident about Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan’s chances.

“I want both of them to be selected for the Champions Trophy. Umesh can bowl at 90 mph and has also added a good slower delivery to his repertoire. Irfan will also get a lot of assistance in English conditions and he is going to be a great asset for the team there.

“The bowlers will have a good time in England but the batsmen might face some difficulty adjusting.”

Asked about his chances to be fit in time for the Ashes, he said that he is hopeful that he will be fit in time for the blockbuster series.“The body is healing well. I didn’t want to take any risk by playing in the Champions Trophy but I will be up and firing by the time Ashes commences,” he said.

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