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

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

  • Sundarraman 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.

  • Mike 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.

  • Dummy4 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...

  • Anwar uz 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.

  • mayuresh 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.

  • RAJARAMAN 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

  • Satish Chandar 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..

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Suresh 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.

  • Dummy4 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..

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