After England snub, Pietersen high on Kings XI Punjab radar
'Pietersen's retirement changes the dynamics of the auction. Now he will be available for full season.'
Kevin Pietersen's surprise omission from England's squad has changed the dynamics of the upcoming IPL players' auction. His availability for the full season will make him the most sought after player.
Pietersen's international career came to an abrupt end after he was left out of the country's upcoming tour of the West Indies and the subsequent World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
"Kevin Pietersen is such an awesome player that every franchise would like to have him in the team. A lot of teams would be looking for him and we are one of them," Anant Sarkaria, Head, Cricket Operations, KXIP, said.
"The availability of English players for the whole duration of the IPL has always been a problem for most of the franchises. They have international commitments to fulfil. Pietersen's retirement changes the dynamics of the auction. Now he will be available for full season. We are looking for a well-balanced team this season of the IPL," Sarkaria added.
Image: Kevin Pietersen
Photographs: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images
KP was not retained by Delhi Daredevils for the seventh edition
IPL franchises have always been reluctant to select England players, knowing that they will not be available for the whole tournament. But the swashbuckling English batsman’s omission for the squad, which could bring down the curtain on an illustrious nine-year career, is likely to attract eye-catching offers from IPL franchises because of his popularity and his status as one of the world's most exciting Twenty20 batsmen.
Pietersen is among 10 England players who have put their names down for the auction, seeking a new franchise. He was not retained by Delhi Daredevils for the seventh edition of the league after DD opted not to retain any of their players from last season.
The middle-order batsman, who featured in 14 Tests and 136 ODIs for England, has been listed at the highest base price of Rs 2 crore.
Image: Kevin Pietersen
Photographs: Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images
'Yuvraj is a Punjabi boy'
Another player on the wish-list of the Punjab franchise could be out-of-favour Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh, who is presently not part of any franchise after Pune Warriors were dissolved by the BCCI.
"Yuvraj is a Punjabi boy. We would love to have him back in the KXIP. There's always some kind of interest in Yuvi. But, having said that, we are looking at lot of other players at the auction. We are looking at good mix of foreign and Indian stars to build a strong team for the coming edition.
“It's precisely the reason behind retaining only two players (David Miller and Manan Vohra)," Sarkaria said.
Image: Yuvraj Singh
Photographs: Tom Shaw/Getty Images
'Dawes will be in charge of the team'
Asked about coach Darren Lehmann, who will not be with the franchise this time around after Cricket Australia (CA) denied him the permission to take up the IPL assignment, Sarkaria replied, "We knew he was trying a job with Cricket Australia. We were fully aware of it. We reached a mutual understanding and there was nothing like he was not allowed by the CA to take up the IPL job. Both of us reached a mutual understanding."
Lehmann took over the IPL side last year.
Sarkaria said India bowling coach Joe Dawes, who is also the bowling coach of the Punjab side, will be in charge of the team along with Sanjay Bangar, who is the assistant coach.
Asked about their strategy for players' auction, Sarkaria said, "We would be aiming to have a balanced side."
Image: Joe Dawes
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images