India news February 7, 2012

Pune Warriors players in the dark about future

A day after the BCCI extended an olive branch to sort out issues with Sahara, the Pune Warriors players still remain in the dark about their future. A few players, speaking to ESPNcricinfo, revealed that Sahara, who withdrew their ownership of the franchise, are yet to give them a strong indication that the team will participate in the fifth IPL season, which starts on April 4.

"We're in the dark just as everybody else is, but the franchise has told us not to worry," Robin Uthappa, one of the senior players at Warriors, told ESPNcricinfo. According to Uthappa, he had received an email after Sahara India Parivar chief Subrata Roy made public his grievances with the BCCI, which had forced him to end the eleven-year relationship with the Indian board and withdraw ownership of the franchise.

"They're doing all they can. It was nice of them to email us because they knew, as players, we would be worried. Hopefully in the next few days we should know something more," Uthappa said.

But not all of the Warrriors' players retain the same optimism. Murali Kartik, the Warriors' most experienced spinner, said the players have only been checking for updates via the media.

The batsman Abhishek Jhujhunwala hoped that Roy would not let go of the team. "We haven't heard anything further, but we're planning to ask Saharashri (Roy) to reconsider," Jhunjhunwala said.

On Monday, the former South Africa bowler Allan Donald, who was freshly recruited by the franchise as a bowling consultant, had described how it came as a shock for him when he was told Warriors were pulling out of the players' auction in Bangalore last Saturday. Donald was involved with the rest of the senior team management including Sourav Ganguly, the team's mentor and senior-most player, as they worked out the plan for the auction.

Wayne Parnell, the South African fast bowler, said he was waiting to receive some information from the franchise, but wasn't panicking yet. Mitchell Marsh, the Australian allrounder also part of the Warriors setup, tweeted on the day the news broke: "Someone tell me what has happened to my Pune!"

As the Sahara management prepares itself to sit with the BCCI top brass in the coming week, the Warriors players have decided to push hard, asking Roy to keep the team alive. It is understood that there is a movement within the squad, led by none other than Ganguly, to write to Roy, requesting him to seriously reconsider the decision.

(With additional reporting by Firdose Moonda)

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo