Pune Warriors IPL 2013 preview April 3, 2013

Warriors hope it's third-time lucky

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Big picture

Sunrisers may be the newest entrants to the IPL parivaar (family) but it would be Warriors who would be seen in a new avatar. Since their bottom-placed finish last year, a lot of water has flown under the bridge. When it came to running the team, it was a one-man army last year, with Sourav Ganguly acting as a captain-mentor.

Come 2013, and Ganguly is nowhere in the picture. Instead, it's Allan Donald who has been elevated from a bowling coach to the head coach. And for the third time during their third year in IPL, Warriors have appointed a new captain at the start of the season. Beyond the captain and the navigator of the ship lie the real changes. There are more than a dozen changes to the squad that represented Warriors last year.

Those who attended Donald's half-hour interaction with the press would realise that their homework has been near- perfect. Warriors made far too many changes to their line-up last year. As a result, only one player - Robin Uthappa - featured in each of their 16 games, while a whopping 23 players got at least a game. As a result, the team combination was far from settled throughout the season.

This time around, though, Donald and Co have decided to downsize the squad for every game from 33 to 16, if not 15. And the thrust during the build-up hasn't just been on adding match-winning overseas cricketers. As a result, domestic stars like Abhishek Nayar, Ishwar Pandey, T Suman and Parvez Rasool, who became the first player from Jammu & Kashmir to have been signed by an IPL franchise after impressive domestic season, have indeed made Warriors a formidable outfit at least on paper.

The coming weeks will tell us whether the line-up that looks as impressive as any other on paper delivers the goods on the field.

Key Players

He was the captain and the marquee player during their inaugural season and was forced to watch Warriors from the sidelines during IPL 2012. Warriors will be looking forward to Yuvraj Singh marking his return to IPL in style. Despite being the star of India's triumphant world titles in both the shorter versions of the game, Yuvraj hasn't really lived up to his potential in the IPL so far. Warriors would be hoping that the next two months help Yuvraj change that.

Once it was decided that Yuvraj won't be considered for captaincy and Michael Clarke pulled out due to the recurrence of his back injury, Angelo Mathews emerged as the leading candidate to skipper the side. Mathews is already a vital cog in terms of the balance of the team, and his elevation has increased the responsibility on him further. Mathews would be hoping to draw all the experience he has gained from leading Sri Lanka in Tests and ODIs recently.

Big names in

The signing of Ross Taylor from Delhi Daredevils can help Warriors fill the gap of the floater they missed all through the last season. Taylor will be desperate to feel at home with what will be his fourth IPL team. And if the track for their home games is as slow and low as it was during the last year, Ajantha Mendis can be a handful with his not-so-mysterious-anymore spin bowling. Mind you, Mendis may be a familiar proposition for regulars at the international stage, but he can be destructive against the domestic batsmen.

Big names out

Michael Clarke's unavailability for the entire duration of the tournament is a big blow for Warriors. Though Clarke isn't exactly renowned for his Twenty20 skills, he is widely regarded as one of the most enterprising captains in the world cricket. It is his leadership ability that Warriors will sorely miss.

Availability

Ross Taylor is likely to miss the latter half of the tournament due to New Zealand's tour to England. And Tamim Iqbal, who injured himself during an ODI in Sri Lanka last week, is unlikely to be available for at least the first half of the tournament due to Bangladesh's tour of Zimbabwe.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on April 5, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    get parvez rasool in along with couple of other youngsters and see the power of youth unleash

  • chinmay3350 on April 5, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    My team for PW-1. Robin 2. M panday 3.samuels 4. michle marsh/write 5. yuvraj 6.Simth 7.mathews 8. nayar 9.bhubaneswar k 10. dinda 11. Parvez rasol

  • Gun79 on April 5, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Failure behind the most of IPL teams would be the plenty of Indian senior players. I think most of the club owners realize this and they have change the team accordingly. Season one the only team which hasn't that problem was the Royals and they won the series. Chennai, MSD drives the ship and they won the competition twice. KKR, lot of problems with plenty of seniors and last year they won it comprehensively. MI, PWI are the two teams yet to learn that metaphor and I m pretty much sure they will learn that after loosing this series.

  • dummy4fb on April 5, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    This time around CSK and PW are well balanced team with raw talents. PW Line up 1.uthapa 2. Luke 3.Pandey 4. Yuvraj 5.Marlon/ smith/taylor 6. mathews 7. Nayar 8. B.kumar 9. R sharma 10. Mendis/Richardson 11. Dinda

  • rosh280 on April 5, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    No doubt, it will be the year of pune warriors. they have great talents of batsmen and bowlers. if they used it proper way with correct combination. they can be the dangerous team. I prefer Robin uttappa should open with manish pandey.my eleven would be 1. robin uttappa 2.manish pandey3.marlon samuels 4. ross taylor 5. yuvraj singh 6.abhishek nayyar/ ishwar pandey7. luke right/ steven smith 8.wayne parnell 9.parvez rasool /rahul sharma 10. bhuvanesh kumar 11. angelo mathews. Since they had robin uttappa in the side , he can be used as a wicket keeper. robin uttappa, manish pandey, marlon samuels, ross taylor, yuvraj singh are the great batsmen who can accelerate the runs at their will. wayne parnell, luke wright, parvez rasool,angelo mathews can also show their alround skills in bowling and batting. bhuvanesh kumar is a great asset to pune warrior he is a dangerous bowler he can strike any world batsman with his charismatic bowling.

  • dummy4fb on April 5, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Poor Raiphi Gomez, has never been given a chance last year. At least this year they can try him out. He is a good allrounder. He did reasonably well when given a chance by Kochi Tuskers. Manish Pandey has not done anything of note in the last one year.

  • dummy4fb on April 5, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    pune is going to win today.....strongest team after csk in the tournament...my 11 is 1.robin 2.manish 3.samuels 4.yuvi 5.ssmith 6.mathews 7.nayar 8.kumar 9.mendis 10.rasool 11.dinda...pitches like hyd we need quality spinners like mendis...rasool is a very good bowler..he took 7 wick durin practice matches with aus in chennai...pace math,nayar(alrounder),kumar, dinda....this is the best team for pune today....

  • British_North_America on April 5, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    One of the most boring teams in IPL to watch.Other ones are Deccan Chargers and Punjab.My favorite team in IPL is RCB.Mumbai does ok and to some extent KKR.

  • anandkar on April 5, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Pune surely had a good team this year. Though that's got to translate to wins! Else the fan base is goinf to erode swiftly, if not already.

    My pick for this match: 1. Robin 2. Manish Pandey 3. Samuels 4. Yuvraj 5. Abhishek Nayar 6. Steve Smith 7. Matthews 8. Rasool 9. Bhuvi 10. Richardson 11. Dinda

    Ross Taylor hasn't been in good form. Hyderabad may offer more bounce than some other venues. Hence Richardson instead of Mendis. Pandey has not done any better things but Dheeraj Jadhav is not exactly knocking the doors. Luke Wright woudl have been better option but I think Matthews, Smith and Samuels should be picked all times, so that just leaves one more foriegn option.