Pune Warriors 2013 review May 20, 2013

A hat-trick of shambolic seasons for Warriors

For the third year in a row, Warriors were nowhere in the running for a place in the playoffs
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Where they finished
Even in their third season in the IPL, Pune Warriors - the most expensive team - showed no signs of having got their act together. After finishing second from bottom in their maiden season and at the bottom of the table in 2012, Warriors started the season thinking things could only better. And they appeared to have got the resources right this year with one of the strongest squads on paper at the start of the season.

Just before the season began, though, they received a jolt as Michael Clarke, who was set to lead their campaign, pulled out due to a back problem and Warriors could never recover from that. They employed three captains, tried 26 players in 16 games and yet won only four games.

Had it not been for their successive victories in their last two games, they would have finished the season at the bottom of the table. For most of the season, Warriors were jokingly called the most consistent team in the IPL, as they were set to finish a lowly ninth for the third year in a row. They didn't maintain that record, though, finishing ahead of Delhi Daredevils after beating them in the battle to avoid the final spot.

What went right
In a season where hardly anything went right for them, only three players showed some sort of consistency. Aaron Finch, who came in as Clarke's replacement and ended up leading the side for most of the season, and Robin Uthappa helped the team get off to solid starts. Both Finch and Uthappa finished in the bottom half of the top-10 run-getters in the IPL. And Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers, mixing accuracy with his typical early movement to finish with a superb economy-rate of 6.50.

What went wrong
Everything. Well, almost everything. Ashok Dinda's death bowling became something of a joke, and the middle-order batsmen were miserable than even Daredevils'. If two captains in the second season wasn't enough to unsettle the team, three captains this season made it even worse.

The root of all these problems lay in the fact that the team could never get their right balance. Head coach Allan Donald had said before the start of the tournament that, unlike last season where they had to chop and change the team combination constantly, they were looking at creating a core group and sticking by them through the tournament. It wasn't something they were able to achieve.

Best player
It's a close call between Aaron Finch and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But one would be inclined to pick Finch, first for agreeing to lead a sinking ship and then keeping his chin up despite the team's losing spree for much of his stint as captain. More importantly, he continued his form with the bat even after taking charge of the team.

Poor performer
Another close call. Dinda had a torrid time, while Yuvraj Singh and Abhishek Nayar had seasons to forget as well. Yuvraj, the man who was supposed to lead the Warriors' batting charge, failed miserably, scoring just 238 runs from 13 innings, with highest of 34. Nayar, the most sought-after Indian in the auction ahead of the season on the back of a sensational Ranji season, managed just 66 from nine innings at less than a run a ball. What tempered a bad season a bit for Yuvraj was his contribution with the ball, even though he didn't bowl regularly. And Nayar's lack of opportunities would help him avoid the tag of being the worst of the lot. As for Dinda, the less said the better.

Surprise package
There was no debutant who shone for Warriors. But Finch could fit the bill. After going unsold at the IPL auction, he was belatedly signed on as Clarke's replacement, and he ended up as the stand-out performer for the franchise.

Moment to remember
Unfortunately, the most memorable moment for Warriors was when they suffered at the hands of Chris Gayle who piled on unbeaten 175 - the highest individual score in T20s - and helped Royal Challengers Bangalore register the highest ever T20 score against a hapless Warriors attack.

On a positive note, their moment of glory came when they beat Chennai Super Kings in Chennai on April 15. So what if it was followed by a run of seven successive wins for CSK and nine losses on the trot for Warriors. Beating the most successful team in IPL history is always an achievement.

Recommended for retention
When the campaign has been a shambles three seasons in a row, it is time for a complete overhaul.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sunman81 on May 21, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    PWI should retain Steve Smith and Luke Wright... Also Yuvi should be released as he gives an impression that he is not too comfortable in this team....

    The team disastrous performance was mainly due to think tank...

    - Mithun Manas played in almost all the matches without getting any opportunities either with Bat or Ball.. - Hard hitting Mitchel Marsh played in the initial stages as a tail ending batsmen... - Steve Smith and Luke Wright were not utilized properly... - Parveez Rassoll and other Indian domestic team were not given enough opportunities - And lastly most importantly playing Dinda in all the matches.

  • Energetic. on May 21, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    My advise to any of the franchise of IPL to be smart and wise and buy TAMIM IQBAL who I think is worth at least $200,000. He's an attacking batsman and on these surfaces then we know what he is most likely to do and will give you a very good start on a lot of occasions. Pune missed the trick with him and this team deserve to be bottom because the management do not know their Cricket well.

  • on May 21, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    I think Aaron Finch ,uthappa, and Bhuvi can be retained ...as dey were performing inspite of lack of contribution from others...

  • Anwaruzz on May 21, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    IPL T20 is a young man's game. Skilled old guns do not fire where courage, superfast reflex and brute strength is needed to do the job. People like Tendulkar, Ponting, Sehwag, Laxman can only help fill the seats in the stadium but as far as entertainment is concerned they constantly fizzle out. Sorry that is the reality and shall remain so, just waiting to see how much money the old guns can command in the next IPL auction.

  • MAYURESHmagic on May 21, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    Retain Uthappa, Finch, Yuvraj and B.Kumar, Try this players in next auction possible not retained by franchises: Shakib Al Hasan, Brad Hodge or James Faulkner, David Warner or Morne Morkel, Brendon MCcullem, D.Bravo or C.Morris, Jacke Kallis add this:M.Starc, M.Clarke. Starc is most important bowler for depth overs, he is T20 specialist and best in business.

  • ramli on May 21, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Yuvi was the one who declined captaincy in PWI ... With KXIP, it was his ego that made him contribute very less for the team when not as captain ... both ways ... his performance is too low for his stature

  • satishchandar on May 21, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    Pune would have been a lot better team had they better used Wright as batting all rounder and Mathews as bowling all rounder.. Yuvi is at his best when the captain trusts him to the core.. I think the team lacked a good controller.. Usually a team with potentially good players(not like MI where everyone is a match winner on their given day), you need a guy who can carefully draw and drop the cards with them.. They lacked that mastermind.. I bet had they been coached b the likes of Fleming or Gary Kirsten, they would have made better progress over the years.. I seriously doubt whether Pune will retain any player for next year.. Not even Yuvi or Uthappa..

  • on May 21, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    I think Pune Warriors missed a trick by not making Yuvi the captain. Responsibility would have brought out the best in him. Moreover, being a senior he must have felt hurt after being sidelined once again when it came to captaincy. Remember this was the case with KingsXI Punjab too when Yuvi was sidelined and the choice was Kumar Sangakkara. In fact the later had to issue statements saying everything is fine between them then. Moreover, there is nothing wrong in Yuvi expecting captaincy. He is a superstar in India and a brilliant matchwinner in the shorter formats.

  • Suresh123456 on May 21, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Well for me the moment to remember would be the audacious six ( a reverse sweep of a fast bowler) by Smith in the match against CSK. It was simply brilliant and raised the hope for all the Pune Supporters.

  • on May 21, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    I think Yuvi has been a White Elephant in IPL, He haven't won a single game for either of the franchises he played! that makes things a lot worse for him. Allan Donald isn't a fine coach either..

  • Sunman81 on May 21, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    PWI should retain Steve Smith and Luke Wright... Also Yuvi should be released as he gives an impression that he is not too comfortable in this team....

    The team disastrous performance was mainly due to think tank...

    - Mithun Manas played in almost all the matches without getting any opportunities either with Bat or Ball.. - Hard hitting Mitchel Marsh played in the initial stages as a tail ending batsmen... - Steve Smith and Luke Wright were not utilized properly... - Parveez Rassoll and other Indian domestic team were not given enough opportunities - And lastly most importantly playing Dinda in all the matches.

  • Energetic. on May 21, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    My advise to any of the franchise of IPL to be smart and wise and buy TAMIM IQBAL who I think is worth at least $200,000. He's an attacking batsman and on these surfaces then we know what he is most likely to do and will give you a very good start on a lot of occasions. Pune missed the trick with him and this team deserve to be bottom because the management do not know their Cricket well.

  • on May 21, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    I think Aaron Finch ,uthappa, and Bhuvi can be retained ...as dey were performing inspite of lack of contribution from others...

  • Anwaruzz on May 21, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    IPL T20 is a young man's game. Skilled old guns do not fire where courage, superfast reflex and brute strength is needed to do the job. People like Tendulkar, Ponting, Sehwag, Laxman can only help fill the seats in the stadium but as far as entertainment is concerned they constantly fizzle out. Sorry that is the reality and shall remain so, just waiting to see how much money the old guns can command in the next IPL auction.

  • MAYURESHmagic on May 21, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    Retain Uthappa, Finch, Yuvraj and B.Kumar, Try this players in next auction possible not retained by franchises: Shakib Al Hasan, Brad Hodge or James Faulkner, David Warner or Morne Morkel, Brendon MCcullem, D.Bravo or C.Morris, Jacke Kallis add this:M.Starc, M.Clarke. Starc is most important bowler for depth overs, he is T20 specialist and best in business.

  • ramli on May 21, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Yuvi was the one who declined captaincy in PWI ... With KXIP, it was his ego that made him contribute very less for the team when not as captain ... both ways ... his performance is too low for his stature

  • satishchandar on May 21, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    Pune would have been a lot better team had they better used Wright as batting all rounder and Mathews as bowling all rounder.. Yuvi is at his best when the captain trusts him to the core.. I think the team lacked a good controller.. Usually a team with potentially good players(not like MI where everyone is a match winner on their given day), you need a guy who can carefully draw and drop the cards with them.. They lacked that mastermind.. I bet had they been coached b the likes of Fleming or Gary Kirsten, they would have made better progress over the years.. I seriously doubt whether Pune will retain any player for next year.. Not even Yuvi or Uthappa..

  • on May 21, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    I think Pune Warriors missed a trick by not making Yuvi the captain. Responsibility would have brought out the best in him. Moreover, being a senior he must have felt hurt after being sidelined once again when it came to captaincy. Remember this was the case with KingsXI Punjab too when Yuvi was sidelined and the choice was Kumar Sangakkara. In fact the later had to issue statements saying everything is fine between them then. Moreover, there is nothing wrong in Yuvi expecting captaincy. He is a superstar in India and a brilliant matchwinner in the shorter formats.

  • Suresh123456 on May 21, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Well for me the moment to remember would be the audacious six ( a reverse sweep of a fast bowler) by Smith in the match against CSK. It was simply brilliant and raised the hope for all the Pune Supporters.

  • on May 21, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    I think Yuvi has been a White Elephant in IPL, He haven't won a single game for either of the franchises he played! that makes things a lot worse for him. Allan Donald isn't a fine coach either..

  • on May 21, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    Pune Warriors Management did not plan anything properly. Poor showing three years in a row means something is basically wrong with them. Instead of blaming the Players, the Team Management should absorb all the blames and go in to the bottom of their problems. By signing major players doesn't mean anything. They should have a strong leader. Angelo Mathews still learning his skills and Aaron Finch doesn't have the experience to lead a major team like Pune Warriors. If the Management thinks Yuvraj is not a captain material then should have looked for a captain who could lead from the front. Michael Clarke's injury added salt to the injury and did not help the team. The team management should look for local talents and try to recruit them in both batting and bowling front. I prefer them to look for genuine batters and genuine bowlers instead of packing the team with so called all rounders who either do justice for their batting skills or bowling skills. I wish them all the best for 2014.

  • vallavarayar on May 20, 2013, 22:13 GMT

    Angelo mathews should be asked to leave.

  • JG2704 on May 20, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    @Siddhartha Dey- Re the English test players - you'll only get half a series out of them if things remain as they are.Anderson is unproven in T20.He and Swann went unsold in previous auctions although I think Swann is England's best T20 player.If KP is available it will surely cost silly money to prize him away from DD. Amla could do a job but VP isnt selected by SA in T20/ODI so I reckon there's a reason for that. I think MC being injured was a blessing.He's a worse T20 player than other marquee names who failed at IPL 2013. Thought Luke should have played more early games and they discarded Samuels too early.A player I'm surprised wasn't picked up at the base price of 50k was Phangiso who was a star in last years CLT20. As a Somerset fan I hope he doesn't do IPL but Jos Buttler is an audacious talent.He's not done it at int level yet but if you can access some domestic footage (maybe vs Yorks in this years YB40) , I'm sure you'll see he has something to offer

  • 22many on May 20, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    need to appoint Taylor as captain and build a team around him....team wasnt a bad team, they just didnt stick to a winning team when the team looked like they had turned the corner....chopping and changing doesnt build team spirit and as we saw through out the season, the more changes that were made the unstable it became....just couldnt finish close games.

  • Tootaa on May 20, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    If Marlon Samuels & Michael Clarke had been fit they certainly would've made a difference especially Samuels as he is a big Impact player that Pune were missing played only two games before getting injured.

  • SidsIPLTeam on May 20, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    PWI had a good team. But, most of the time they looked like a directionless unit who didn't know what to do in the face of a challenge. Think this will be the last season for Dravid, but, if not then they can surely rope him in. He is one of the best strategists the country has produced and is the cool calm guy one needs to guide a team. And if the IPL decides to put all the players back into the auction, which is highly unlikely, then there's nothing like it. They can go all out for Dhoni with the big money they have. Michael Hussey might also be an interesting choice as captain if he continues playing. As for players, they might be better off preferring a team of specialists than going for a heap of all-rounders. If they get some of the good Indian talent like Rohit Sharma, Rayadu, Rahane, Binny, Mohit Sharma with some good overseas buys like Miller, Watson, McCullum, Malinga; it should be soon that we see them going up the IPL ladder.

  • on May 20, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    they should try to do what kkr did in the ipl-4 auction by buying some quality indian batsmen and bowler and a allrounders like dwayne bravo,kieron pollard , andre russel and ryan ten does etc..........

  • on May 20, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Yuvi....seeing through him in this ipl.... he didn't perform but he is a good talented t20 batsman as well as bowler...a gud rough captain would help him and his team.. a captain like clarke or Ross Taylor....if Yuvraj become captain he could get more pressure while batting... and the team needs good overseas bowler like finn,starc or philander....even kane richardson is a gud bowler in t20's.....they have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Sharma...Both gud economical bowlers... Luke Wright, Steve Smith, Aaron Finch, Angelo Mathews, Wayne Parnell, Kane Richardson.. should remain next year also..... a aggresive one down batsman like ferguson will be good one.....

  • on May 20, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    The pune team should be...finch,blizzard,saurab tiwary,m.clarke,R.uthappa,E.morgan,B.kumar,D.vettori,mclaren,munaf,franklin,mcculum,l.wright,a.peterson, players like this will surely boost them

  • Icyman on May 20, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    Complete overhaul is required. As the IPL rules maintain that a replacement player cannot be kept for another season, else PWI should have looked to retain Finch. Yuvraj has been the most hyped up individual ever since he was picked by PWI. He has not even led the team to a victory single-handedly and seems more like a lost on field person.What they desperately need is a senior cricketer ,maybe the likes of a KP or a Mahela who can guide the team well.

  • A.Ak on May 20, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    Most of the PWI didn't knew what they were supposed to do. None of them took responsibility. Thats is simply to do with lack of experience. Players like Yuvi or Uthappa need someone to control their over active mind. They need someone with more maturity and experience to lead. Finch was decent, but he is young too. Exception of Bhuvi and finch, who has some head to compete at this level.

  • on May 20, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    All Pune needs is a good leader who understands psyche of sub-continental sides. Hand over the reins to Misbah and evrything will fall into place with the same team.

  • phunny_game on May 20, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    PWI need an Indian captain. Finch was good with the bat, but who knows. Next year might not be the same. So its better to find an Indian skipper, so that he doesnt occupy an overseas slot. They should retain Finch, Uthappa( good Indian WK batsmen are hard to find, ask KXIP, DD, KKR, RCB) , maybe Bhuvaneswar and Luke Wright also. I am sure they will finish at at least 5th next year...

  • on May 20, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    do not agree with the call for a complete overhaul... PWI should look to retain the likes of Finch, Uthappa and Bhuvi, with most of the teams likely to retain at least two-three key players, quality players won't be easily available in the next auction. so, releasing the entire bunch might not be smart move. I guess, what Pune lacked was class and a shrewd cricketing brain on the field. The team boasts of talent in Pandey, Wright, Smith, Dinda and the likes but doesn't have a solid International Test-level player in their ranks. Next auction they must rope in at least two solid international players, one on the batting and the other on the bowling front. Should look for someone from the likes of Warner, Pieterson, Anderson, Amla, Swann or Philander. Trying for Clarke as a captain this time again might not be a bad idea.

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  • on May 20, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    do not agree with the call for a complete overhaul... PWI should look to retain the likes of Finch, Uthappa and Bhuvi, with most of the teams likely to retain at least two-three key players, quality players won't be easily available in the next auction. so, releasing the entire bunch might not be smart move. I guess, what Pune lacked was class and a shrewd cricketing brain on the field. The team boasts of talent in Pandey, Wright, Smith, Dinda and the likes but doesn't have a solid International Test-level player in their ranks. Next auction they must rope in at least two solid international players, one on the batting and the other on the bowling front. Should look for someone from the likes of Warner, Pieterson, Anderson, Amla, Swann or Philander. Trying for Clarke as a captain this time again might not be a bad idea.

  • phunny_game on May 20, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    PWI need an Indian captain. Finch was good with the bat, but who knows. Next year might not be the same. So its better to find an Indian skipper, so that he doesnt occupy an overseas slot. They should retain Finch, Uthappa( good Indian WK batsmen are hard to find, ask KXIP, DD, KKR, RCB) , maybe Bhuvaneswar and Luke Wright also. I am sure they will finish at at least 5th next year...

  • on May 20, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    All Pune needs is a good leader who understands psyche of sub-continental sides. Hand over the reins to Misbah and evrything will fall into place with the same team.

  • A.Ak on May 20, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    Most of the PWI didn't knew what they were supposed to do. None of them took responsibility. Thats is simply to do with lack of experience. Players like Yuvi or Uthappa need someone to control their over active mind. They need someone with more maturity and experience to lead. Finch was decent, but he is young too. Exception of Bhuvi and finch, who has some head to compete at this level.

  • Icyman on May 20, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    Complete overhaul is required. As the IPL rules maintain that a replacement player cannot be kept for another season, else PWI should have looked to retain Finch. Yuvraj has been the most hyped up individual ever since he was picked by PWI. He has not even led the team to a victory single-handedly and seems more like a lost on field person.What they desperately need is a senior cricketer ,maybe the likes of a KP or a Mahela who can guide the team well.

  • on May 20, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    The pune team should be...finch,blizzard,saurab tiwary,m.clarke,R.uthappa,E.morgan,B.kumar,D.vettori,mclaren,munaf,franklin,mcculum,l.wright,a.peterson, players like this will surely boost them

  • on May 20, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Yuvi....seeing through him in this ipl.... he didn't perform but he is a good talented t20 batsman as well as bowler...a gud rough captain would help him and his team.. a captain like clarke or Ross Taylor....if Yuvraj become captain he could get more pressure while batting... and the team needs good overseas bowler like finn,starc or philander....even kane richardson is a gud bowler in t20's.....they have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Sharma...Both gud economical bowlers... Luke Wright, Steve Smith, Aaron Finch, Angelo Mathews, Wayne Parnell, Kane Richardson.. should remain next year also..... a aggresive one down batsman like ferguson will be good one.....

  • on May 20, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    they should try to do what kkr did in the ipl-4 auction by buying some quality indian batsmen and bowler and a allrounders like dwayne bravo,kieron pollard , andre russel and ryan ten does etc..........

  • SidsIPLTeam on May 20, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    PWI had a good team. But, most of the time they looked like a directionless unit who didn't know what to do in the face of a challenge. Think this will be the last season for Dravid, but, if not then they can surely rope him in. He is one of the best strategists the country has produced and is the cool calm guy one needs to guide a team. And if the IPL decides to put all the players back into the auction, which is highly unlikely, then there's nothing like it. They can go all out for Dhoni with the big money they have. Michael Hussey might also be an interesting choice as captain if he continues playing. As for players, they might be better off preferring a team of specialists than going for a heap of all-rounders. If they get some of the good Indian talent like Rohit Sharma, Rayadu, Rahane, Binny, Mohit Sharma with some good overseas buys like Miller, Watson, McCullum, Malinga; it should be soon that we see them going up the IPL ladder.

  • Tootaa on May 20, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    If Marlon Samuels & Michael Clarke had been fit they certainly would've made a difference especially Samuels as he is a big Impact player that Pune were missing played only two games before getting injured.