Pietersens past not a problem for Jennings
Kevin Pietersen`s controversy-ridden past as England captain is a non-issue for his IPL says coach Ray Jennings while insisting that he backs the explosive batsman despite his "so-called personality weaknesses".
South Africa-born Pietersen clashed with then England coach Peter Moores that eventually cost both of them their jobs. But former South Africa coach Jennings insisted that would not cast shadow on his relation with Pietersen.
"I don`t care a damn what happened with the England job," said Jennings.
"Kevin and I are on the same wavelength – that`s all that matters and I just don`t believe he will behave like people believe he can behave. The important thing is Kev`s the type who likes to prove people wrong.”
"He`s like me – he likes to push fingers up people`s noses. I understand the guy and where he`s coming from. Whatever his so-called personality weaknesses are, I back him 100 per cent," he was quoted as saying.
Jennings said leading England and captaining the Royal Challengers were a different ball game altogether and he respects Pietersen`s intensity.
"People have to understand that there are a different set of permutations out here from what happened with England. I`ve clashed with some of my cricketers before, too, but that`s my style. It doesn`t concern me who he`s clashed with," Pietersen said.
"I believe there absolutely has to be tension within any relationship. If there`s no tension, there`s a lack of respect. I respect Kevin and he respects me. It will be a whole new relationship."
The 54-year-old Jennings said Pietersen has requested for a net session when he touches base in Johannesburg and has also asked the coach to send him photos of his teammates to cement names and faces ahead of his two-week stint as captain.
"Small things like that convince me he`s going to do well.”
"He`s a top professional who plays to win. I like that kind of guy. He also understands South African conditions. It will be tough in that environment but he`s a fighter. He`s got a personality that`s got him to where he is now and he`s not going to change it."