One of the most important aspects of Twenty20 cricket is to have a well-balanced squad. As Gary Kirsten took reins of Delhi Daredevils on the first day of the team’s practice at the Palam Ground on Wednesday, the South African harped on the fact that he has got all his bases covered as far as the combination of side was concerned.
Kirsten, who took India and South Africa to World No 1 in Tests, knows he is staring at a big challenge of resurrecting the fortunes of Daredevils which finished at the bottom of the IPL last year.
While the former South African opener would be the man behind the scene, the charismatic Kevin Pietersen will have the responsibility of executing the plans on the field as skipper.
“It is certainly nice to be back in India personally. I am looking to the campaign, majority of the team got together today (Wednesday), it’s exciting to be the part of the group,” Kirsten told reporters.
“There have been ups and downs over the years but we have tried to make sure we have good balance this time. We were looking for a new squad and that is why we chose not to retain anyone. I am happy with the squad as it allows us to go for different options,” he pointed out.
“It’s a new squad, I think we enjoy meeting each other. These eight days are important for us to know each other well.”
Talks with KP
Kirsten said he had extensive discussions with Pietersen on how to lead the team and insisted he was comfortable with the former England player despite his off-field problems with the national team.
“He is an outstanding player. He has made some useful contributions for Delhi Daredevils last season and that is why he is here.
“We are looking forward to working as a team, a leadership team, and we have got quite a bit of communication already, and we have aligned ourselves in terms of how we want to lead the team,” Kirsten said. The South African said he was a fan of Twenty20 cricket but admitted that coaching an IPL side could prove to be challenging.
“It is a completely different format from what I have been used to. It is lot more quicker. There is a group of players for eight weeks as opposed to years. It is a new challenge for me,” he said.
“I love watching T20, I haven’t missed too many games. IPL is an important tournament for everyone, especially Indian players. A lot of good players have come through IPL. I wanted to come back here and I am glad I have had this opportunity.”
There is a feeling that spinners would play a crucial role in the first part of the tournament in UAE and Kirsten said they had reliable options. “We have Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Sharma besides JP Duminy.”