Pune Warriors

Pune Warriors

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Yuvraj Singh can be at his brutal best when he is hungry and angry. After a fulfilling triumph at the World Cup, it's difficult to imagine him to be too angry. But there's enough history to suggest that he can remain hungry when he leads new entrants Sahara Pune Warriors in IPL 4.

Yuvraj was captain of Kings XI Punjab for the first two seasons. Though he and co-owner Preity Zinta had no major issues, the latter's lack of knowledge about the game must not have been too pleasant an experience for the players. In the third season, Yuvraj was cold shouldered from captaincy, and worst, not retained by the Kings XI.

All this suggests he will have a point to prove with his leadership skills. And that can be a great platform for take off for Pune Warriors.

He will have to make do with another Aussie Geoff Marsh (head coach) with the Pune team. Thankfully, Marsh was a player of far higher calibre than Tom Moody (Kings XI coach), who was partly responsible for the team's bottom-placed finish in the last edition.

One look at the team suggests that there is no great Test player in the team. Does that mean Pune have opted for a 'horses for courses' approach as this format doesn't require Test skills? Not really. As the first three editions have proved (Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis), you need consistency among the top-three batsmen even in the bikini format of the game.

Multi-skilled players will obviously play a big role. In that sense, how they use the likes of Tim Paine (wk, Australia), all-rounder Wayne Parnell (SA), solid bat and son of coach Mitchell Marsh (Australia), medium pacer Jerome Taylor (West Indies), who has a Test century against his name; and Alfonso Thomas (SA) will be of great importance. Picking right foreigners will be a challenge.

The team has got enough 'local' flavour in left-handed opener Dheeraj Jadhav, medium-pace all-rounder Shrikant Mundhe, offie Ganesh Gaikwad and dashing opener Harshad Khadiwale.

If luck laughs on them, he and Robin Uthappa can be a lethal batting pair. Plus, they have Manish Pandey, first Indian centurion in the IPL. Watch out for dark horses like Shrikant Wagh, Harpreet Singh and Alfonso Thomas which makes Warriors an unpredictable outfit.

 

Marshalling the resources

Captain: The new franchise wanted a headliner to connect the franchise with fans, and got one in Yuvraj Singh at the price of $1.8m. As the skipper of the King's XI Punjab, he wore his heart on his sleeve before being replaced by Kumar Sangakkara. After battling poor form and injury, Yuvraj finally got his groove back during the World Cup.

 

Key players

Robin Uthappa: This former Royal Challengers Bangalore player raised a few eyebrows when he was picked for $2.1m making him the second-most expensive player after Gautam Gambhir. The 25-year-old is a treat to watch, his biggest strength is his ability to walk down the track to fast bowlers and hit them straight or with a horizontal bat.

Mitchell Marsh: A powerful right-handed batsman, 19-year-old Mitchell will be playing under the watchful eyes of his father Geoff Marsh, head coach of the Pune Warriors. Marsh, who was picked up for $290,000, led Australia to victory in the 2010 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand.

Jesse Ryder: The quintessential bad boy of New Zealand cricket was signed on for a modest sum of $150,000. Patience is not a virtue for this 26-year-old from Wellington. At times inelegant in his shotmaking, Ryder is not afraid to hit the ball in the air.

Squad: Yuvraj Singh (captain), Ashish Nehra, Robin Uthappa, Murali Kartik, Graeme Smith, Angelo Mathews, Tim Paine (wk), Nathan McCullum, Callum Ferguson, Wayne Parnell, Mitchell Marsh, Jesse Ryder, Jerome Taylor, Alfonso Thomas, Manish Pandey, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Mohnish Mishra, Kamran Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Shreekant Wagh, Ganesh Gaikwad, Harshad Khadiwale, Shrikant Mundhe, Sachin Rana, Harpreet Singh, Dheeraj Jadhav, Imtiyaz Ahmad, Mithun Minhas, Eklavya Dwivedi.

 

Content courtsey: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com