Kevin Pietersen loves Delhi, his ‘second home.’ The English batsman, who made a huge impact on Delhi Daredevils in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), is out of action due to a knee injury and DD, dealing with its inconsistency this season, has not been able to fill the huge void.

Despite not being in the thick of action, Pietersen keenly follows DD’s journey. “Delhi had a slow start to the season. If they win the remaining matches, there is no reason why they cannot make it,” said Pietersen here on Friday.

Flattering reason

Pietersen played down the notion that his absence was the main reason behind DD’s string of early defeats. “It is flattering that they are mentioning me but I do not think that is the only reason. We did not have Viru (Sehwag) for initial matches, Morne (Morkel) and Roelof (Van der Merwe) had domestic commitments. Also, what happened to Jesse (Ryder) made us slow starters. We did not have the full squad and that knocked our confidence a little bit.

“Delhi is very close to my heart as I have so many friends over here. The coaching set-up is great and it has a fantastic owner. It is not that the absence of one person would make a difference,” said Pietersen at a function to promote Citizen watches.

Strong contender

Pietersen, however, rated Chennai Super Kings as the strongest contender for the IPL title. “Chennai is a very good team. M.S. (Dhoni) is a clever captain in Indian conditions. He is a fantastic player in the lower order. Their spinners are doing a good job and the overseas players, including Michael Hussey, and (coach Stephen) Fleming are playing a good part.”

Speaking about his knee injury, Pietersen said he would rest for the next 10 days before getting ready for the Ashes series.

About India’s chances in the upcoming Champions Trophy in England and Wales, Pietersen said, “It will be great for their bowlers to bowl with seam and swing. It will be a little more difficult for their batters. But there is so much of cricket being played around the world in different conditions that it does not take too long to adjust. I know India have problems playing outside of India, but in the shorter form of the game it is not too much of an issue.”

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