Kevin Pietersen's absence may not be felt in IPL

Heavy hitters like McCullum and De Villiers will take up the slack

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The Independent Online

The Indian Premier League will just have to do without Kevin Pietersen, but will it cope? In the wake of the World Cup’s brutal batting exploits, many fans may not even realise he’s not there.

KP actually attracted a pretty low bid when he went to auction in February and the likes of Brendon McCullum and AB de Villiers will be perfectly able to shoulder the burden of the limelight.

The New Zealand captain and rampant opening batsman will be turning out again for the Chennai Super Kings under the auspices of the India captain, M S Dhoni, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore will surely challenge strongly for their first title with De Villiers’ innovative batsmanship being backed up by the likes of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli.

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New Zealand star Brendon McCullum will be a big draw

This absurdly strong top order was let down last time by their bowling and they will hope late arrival Mitchell Starc will not be delayed long.

The reigning champions Kolkata Knight Riders have been boosted in their quest to win a third title in four seasons by the return of West Indies spinner Sunil Narine, whose remodelled action passed scrutiny last week .

They take on Mumbai Indians at Eden Gardens in today’s opener, having also recruited another mystery spinner from club cricket, KC Cariappa, for the princely sum of 24 million rupees (£260,000) – more than Pietersen was deemed to be worth.

David Warner has taken over as captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, the team Pietersen has forsaken – though his contract says they can recall him if they reach the knockout stages next month, despite the fact that  this would clash with England’s first Test against New Zealand.

In any case they signed a potent run machine at a knockdown price, in New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.

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