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May 20, 2012
Sourav Ganguly, the Pune Warriors captain, has said the side does not need an immediate post-mortem after their disastrous IPL season ended on Saturday with a ninth consecutive defeat, to Kolkata Knight Riders. Warriors won only four matches in 2012, the same as in their maiden season in 2011, out of 16 and finished last.
"Any post-mortem that needs to be done should be done after some time," Ganguly said. "Right now, the boys need to get away from here and go back to their respective homes. It's very hard for them too. They have been selected to win matches and that hasn't happened. It's a new franchise and things will only get better from here on. We need to look at a lot of things like team selection."
Wayne Parnell, the South Africa and Warriors fast bowler, said that wrong selection and injuries to key players were major reasons for the franchise's poor showing. "There are a number of factors. We have missed Yuvi [Yuvraj Singh]. We have had key guys injured throughout the season. Graeme Smith has been injured. [Ashok] Dinda started off really well, picked up an injury and has been out for some time. I think Murali Kartik's back stiffened up; Alfonso Thomas is injured as well. That combined with probably picking the wrong teams for certain pitches.
"At the end of the day we are professional cricketers and on every wicket we need to try and win games but this season we have been really, really poor. I thought last year we had injuries to local players, especially fast bowlers, which set us back a bit. I honestly thought we would do better [this season]. We showed that in our first few games. We then lost a few tight games and it went pear-shaped from there."
Robin Uthappa, the Warriors wicketkeeper and highest run-getter this season, believed that the Pune pitch also added to the side's woes. "It's the toughest wicket we have played in the country and it's very difficult to score runs here. Hopefully, it gets better and we have belters next season."
With his side struggling, Ganguly's individual performance also drew criticism. He scored 268 runs from 15 innings but was unable to accelerate with a strike-rate of 98.89. Parnell said that while having Ganguly's experience in the squad had been "massive", it did not matter who played as long as he performed. "It does not matter who you have in the team, whether you have Sourav Ganguly or a 20-year old Indian guy, if he is going to score runs or take wickets you got to pick him."
Uthappa said Ganguly had done the best he could do. "You have to respect his age well. It's the format that is most challenging for someone of his age," Uthappa told iplt20.com. "He has done a wonderful job for us in whatever capacity he could."
Uthappa also said Warriors were involved in several close games but could not finish them. "There were so many games where we won 35 overs out of 40 … we played close games this year, but on the whole, we were bad. As a unit, we never felt we were not up to the mark. We had quality players, we were a very strong side, but somehow results never showed that. Even the atmosphere in the dressing room was very positive. We lost games by five runs or seven runs, even by one run. Those kinds of defeats hit you hard. We couldn't come back from there.
Warriors had let their supporters down, Uthappa said, after they came out in large numbers in Pune despite their franchise losing consistently. "We want to apologise to the people in Pune. Even the afternoon games were full and they didn't mind coming to support us in insane heat. There were so many times that we kept telling ourselves that lets win games for them, they sit in so much heat and support us."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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