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How the Pune Warriors can turn it around

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Sticky Wicket

The Pune Warriors started off as the babies of the IPL but in their first two games, have sent clear signals to the other sides that they are not to be taken lightly. Yuvraj Singh, as captain looks like he just doesn’t want to get off the field post his player-of-the-world-cup histrionics and in the first couple of weeks, has given us an exciting glimpse of his turbo-charged captaincy style. He is involved, animated, hungry to prove a point, leading by example and expects only the best from his players – giving credit for success and taking personal responsibility for failures. So we didn’t get to see him as India captain, but he certainly looks like a man who can bring a team together. Oh, and the best part – nobody seems to be talking about his belly anymore and it doesn’t seem like he cares anyway.

The key to doing well in their opening season for Pune is to find their best 11 or 12 and I’m not quite sure they’ve got that down pat. © AFP

So then why have Pune who started with 2 wins out of two, failed to add to their account? Did the close game that they lost against the Delhi Daredevils change Yuvraj’s mindset about the balance of the 11? He played Jhunjhunwala at 7 and Delhi chased down 187. Since then we have seen the Pune warriors play with 5 bowlers plus Yuvraj and Ryder and they’ve put up scores of 118 and 117 in two losing causes. True, it doesn’t help that a batsman of the caliber of Graeme Smith has scored 36 in 3 games. Robin Uthappa has played a solitary knock of significance and till now, has demonstrated as much patience as Yuvi showed with Tim Paine, dropping him after his only opportunity at the top.

The key to doing well in their opening season for Pune is to find their best 11 or 12 and I’m not quite sure they’ve got that down pat. The bowling looks rich – Alfonso has arrived in time with the King of Fruits, Rahul Sharma is reliable, Jerome Taylor looked sharp in his opening game and by the way, they’ve got Ashish Nehra ,Shrikant Wagh and Wayne Parnell on the bench. I was surprised that Jesse Ryder didn’t get a bowl in the game against CSK (3 wickets and an economy of 6.38 in the tournament) and if I were Yuvraj, maybe I’d infuse a little more faith in my own bowling ability after the 4/29, not to forget the World cup performances with the ball. He’s bowled himself for just 8 overs in the 5 games so far. Surely he backs his own bowling as much as Dhoni does?

This will allow Pune to play the extra batsman and play their freestyle, attacking brand of cricket. Mr. Smith and Mr. Paine can have another go. Unless a certain Mr. Pandey decides to make the spot at the top his own and allow Callum Ferguson to claim a middle order berth. He will do well to take a leaf out of Ravindra Jadeja’s book …. “Ban Me?? Take this!”

Manish Vallicha

Manish Vallicha is an anchor and presenter with Neo Cricket and hosts the hugely popular Dial C for Cricket.