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MS Dhoni slugs one down the ground, Delhi Daredevils v Chennai Super Kings, IPL, Delhi, April 18, 2013

England batsman Kevin Pietersen has said that MS Dhoni should take a lot of credit for Chennai Super Kings’ success in the IPL in his role as the captain. Super Kings have already featured in four finals, winning two and losing two (in addition to winning a Champions League title), and are almost certain to qualify for the playoffs in the current season as well.

Pietersen, part of Delhi Daredevils, couldn’t take part in the IPL this year due to a knee injury. Pietersen has been off the braces for the last ten days and hopes to be fit for the Ashes.

“The reason why CSK are so successful is because MS is such a clever skipper in Indian conditions,” Pietersen said at an event in New Delhi. “Besides him (Dhoni) making a huge impact with the bat, CSK have also got quality spinners for the tracks on which they are playing. Their overseas recruits including Michael Hussey and even coach Stephen Fleming, have made significant contributions.”

Daredevils have struggled in the tournament, currently second from last in the points table, but Pietersen felt his absence wasn’t the only reason for their slump.

“It’s flattering to hear that but I don’t think that’s the only reason. We also didn’t have Viru [Sehwag] for the initial matches, Morne [Morkel] and Roelof [van der Merwe] had domestic commitments. Also what happened to Jesse [Ryder] made us slow starters. But the boys are gaining confidence and mathematically, we can still make it.”

Looking ahead to the Champions Trophy in England in June, which he will also miss, Pietersen backed his Daredevils team-mates Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan to shine, if selected.

“In England, the Indian bowlers will have a good time as the ball swings a bit more. Whatever I have seen, Umesh has developed a good slower delivery which will be helpful in limited-overs cricket. Irfan, being a left-armer is a valuable asset with the angles he can produce.”