Batsman Kevin Pietersen, who was bought for a hefty Rs.9 crore ($1.5 million) at the IPL-7 auction, feels more loved in India than back home in England. His comments come days after he was unceremoniously sacked from the England cricket team.
When a presenter of the IPL host broadcaster asked Pietersen on phone whether he felt more loved in the cricket-crazy nation after what transpired back home earlier in the month, the 33-year-old said : "Umm, I don't know... It feels that way at the moment."
Pietersen's employer Delhi Daredevils are thrilled to have his services for a full season. The flamboyant personality too is happy to return to a team he calls family. "It feels great to be with the Delhi family. We have got a strong team this around. It is now a matter of gelling together as a unit," said Pietersen, who was retained by the Delhi franchise through the 'right to match' card during the auction Wednesday.
The South African born player said he was really looking forward to work with former India and South Africa coach Gary Kirsten. "Gary has an outstanding cricketing brain. He is one of the coaches I wanted to work with. Hopefully, we will have a great run under him."
Pietersen and Dinesh Karthik are in the running to lead the Daredevils. "I would like to be in a leadership role in some way, whether it is captaincy or helping out the leader and the youngsters in the team," said Pietersen. He also praised the IPL for promoting youngsters from around the world. "The IPL is not only an academy for the Indians, it is world academy. The youngsters get to learn to so much and there are times when we guys get to learn a thing or two from them," summed Pietersen.