Ganguly to lead Sahara Pune Warriors
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly will be leading Sahara Pune Warriors in the IPL's fifth season in the absence of the injured Yuvraj Singh. Ganguly, who joined the Warriors in the second half of their campaign last year, had already been appointed as a mentor by the franchise and will be involved in multi-tasking in the absence of a head coach.
"His experience will count for the team in the absence of Yuvraj," Abhijit Sarkar, corporate head at Sahara group that owns the franchise, told ESPNcricinfo. "We need someone who can motivate the team. And Ganguly is active as a player and he can perform the leadership duties better than someone sitting on the bench outside the field," Sarkar said. Former Australia opener Geoff Marsh, who was Warriors' head coach last year, had to leave after the franchise decided not to renew his contract.
The Warriors, who were involved in a bitter dispute with the BCCI, ahead of the IPL players' auction, have brought the South African pair of Allan Donald and Paddy Upton to the coaching bench. Donald, the former South African fast-bowling spearhead, will be the bowling coach while Upton, who was part of Gary Kirsten's coaching staff for India till last year's World Cup, will serve as mental-skills coach while simultaneously performing the duties of a fielding coach and also a trainer.
One of the team officials said Ganguly was the biggest name on the team roaster in the absence of Yuvraj and he had the capability of bringing together players from different continents and make them work for one goal. "To get the best out of international players and domestic Indian players and make them work for one goal is a difficult task and someone like Ganguly, a former India captain, who has a lot of respect was in a good position to do it," the official said. Also, he felt, Ganguly's experience at Kolkata Knight Riders in the first three years of the IPL, would allow him to perform the leadership role easily .
Meanwhile the Warriors' squad will start their camp from March 26 at their new home ground in Pune. Upton will multi-task as fielding coach, mental skills coach and even as a trainer.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo