Kevin Pietersen Ruled Out of Delhi Daredevils' IPL 2014 Opener Against Bangalore

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2014

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRCA - OCTOBER 13:  Kevin Pietersen of the Daredevils bats during the Karbonn Smart CLT20 Group A match between Kolkata Knight Riders (IPL) and Delhi Daredevils (IPL) at SuperSport Park on October 13, 2012 in Pretoria, South Africa.  (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images

Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out of the Delhi Daredevils' opening IPL encounter with Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday due to a finger injury. 

The former England batsman was meant to be captaining the Delhi side, who get their tournament underway in Sharjah.

However, as reported by Chris Stocks in The GuardianDelhi assistant coach Eric Simons confirmed his absence on Wednesday:

Kevin is still a few days away so he won't be considered for tomorrow. It is obviously a setback because he's an important player in our setup and an important player in any team. It is a difficult situation.

I think we'll take it one day at a time and see how it progresses each morning but he definitely won't be considered for tomorrow. He has done some work with the bat, some drills but nothing too strenuous. It's obviously disappointing for him as it is for us.

Pietersen picked up the injury to the little finger of his right hand during fielding drills with Surrey last month.

He had hoped he would recover in time for the start of the world's biggest T20 league, with Stocks reporting that the 33-year-old played the injury down as a "niggle" last week. 

In his absence, he will be replaced by Dinesh Karthik as captain, and this setback will be a major blow to Pietersen after recent problems with the England national team.

Andy Brownbill

Following England's 5-0 Ashes defeat to Australia during the winter, Pietersen was sacked by the national side, per David Hoops of ESPN Cricinfo.

Though little information was forthcoming from either the ECB or Pietersen himself, Andy Wilson of The Guardian reported that the reason for the sacking was that he could not be relied on to give England captain Alastair Cook his full support.

Many were unimpressed with the lack of information concerning his sacking:

However, one of the benefits of his no longer appearing for England was that he would be able to play a full season in the IPL, having previously always been called away for international duty.

And the South African-born Pietersen duly signed an £880,000 contract with Delhi back in February. But this latest injury is yet another blow for Pietersen.

While the Daredevils have a strong line-up including the likes of South Africa's JP Duminy and New Zealand's Ross Taylor, Pietersen's absence could be costly against Bangalore.

They will be desperately hoping that he can come back to fitness for their second outing against Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday.