Bangalore v Pune, IPL 2013, Bangalore April 24, 2013

Gayle's innings left bowlers 'scared', says Donald

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Allan Donald, the Pune Warriors coach, has said that his players were "scared" after the thunderous assault from Chris Gayle, which set up an enormous 130-run victory for Royal Challengers Bangalore. A day after the demoralising defeat, Donald admitted that he feared the "mental damage" the innings might have caused his players and said his biggest challenge was to keep them positive for the remaining eight matches.

"We came across a bloke yesterday who was just devastating," Donald told ESPNcricinfo in Bangalore. "I have never seen hitting like that in all my life. To see our guys getting pummeled like that was unbelievable. When I walked out for the first strategy break, I just saw people scared, really scared. I just mentioned to the players that if we don't pull this back here, he is going to take us down big time, which he did."

Donald realised that the bowlers were clueless and if he did not deliver a stern message, Gayle could play havoc, which he eventually did with ease. "When I looked at their faces and no one said a word, the only way for me was to be very firm in my message; we had to find a way," he said. "We also discussed in the meeting on the morning of the match that we had to bowl out batsmen who were not going to give up their wicket. We needed someone to stand up and do something special and stop the flow of runs."

As a response Donald observed blank faces. By the second timeout, in the 16th over, Gayle had doubled the team score, taking it past 200 and Donald was frustrated. "To me that plan was about how we were going to limit the damage in the next four overs. The plan was to go full into his pads and also vary the pace," Donald said.

The mental scarring Gayle has inflicted on his players has left the coach worried. "How much damage has this done to us mentally? My job becomes even harder now and I have to make sure these guys are ready against another team that is struggling (Delhi Daredevils) on a ground we have never played (Raipur)," he said. "This group now needs to rally together."

Barring the pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4-0-23-0) and Luke Wright (4-0-26-1), at the start and end of the Royal Challengers' innings, Gayle attacked the rest mercilessly. Donald was not shy to take the blame. He said the bowlers lacked consistency and the team was one experienced strike bowler short.

"We haven't been brilliant," he said. "We have been okay in certain games and really off the boil in the others. And that is one area where we have let ourselves down. We do not have an attack that is express pace; we don't have a Dale Styen or a Shuan Tait, though, we have fair bit of class in Kumar and Ashok Dinda."

At the same time, Donald pointed out, Gayle was unstoppable and intimidated the bowlers. "There were times during that knock where he just went ballistic, and then he took a little timeout and then he went again," Donald said with a chuckle.

After the match, he asked Gayle, "Why us?" Gayle said he was in the mood. "He has just said that is the best he has ever hit the ball in his life," Donald said.

I can't find a solution as to why we are not responding. I cannot fault the squad that we have got this year. Is it the failures of the last two years that is playing on everyone's minds or the losing streak that we are on at the moment? Is it affecting everybody?
Allan Donald

After their confident victory against Chennai Super Kings, Warriors let the following two matches slip out of their hands against Sunrisers Hyderabad at home and then in Mohali against Kings XI Punjab. The erratic form has left even Donald confused.

"I can't find a solution as to why we are not responding," he said. "I cannot fault the squad that we have got this year. Is it the failures of the last two years that is playing on everyone's minds or the losing streak that we are on at the moment? Is it affecting everybody?"

The failure of marquee players has made matters worse for Donald. Yuvraj Singh, Ross Taylor, Angelo Matthews and Robin Uthappa have not played any innings of impact. Acting captain Aaron Finch has been the only batsman to score a half-century, striking up three fifties in six games.

"The whole team has been hot and cold," Donald said, expressing his frustration. "If you look at Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, they win the RCB games. The same goes for teams like Super Kings."

The absence of a stable captain at Warriors has been a point of fierce debate. The first-choice captains - Mathews and Ross Taylor - have been battling for form, forcing the team management to appoint Finch, who has led in the Big Bash, as a stand-in leader. "We never had a captain in three years leading us solidly," Donald said.

In their debut season in 2011, Warriors finished eighth out of nine teams in the season. Last year, they slid to the last position. This season they are ahead of last-placed Daredevils. According to Donald, there is no place to hide for Warriors. "We can't fault our preparations or our planning and strategies, we have been on the money," he said. "We just haven't been unable to put it together on the field. There are no excuses, there are no explanations and we have got to turn it around."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on April 27, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Im not sure I agree with Donald's tactics. They were just assaulted all over the park and he decides to be stern and firm. If he actually did say "if we don't pull this back here, he is going to take us down big time" that would have only induced panic and demoralisation for the bowlers, leading to more poor bowling. If this is the kind of support and management they are getting i m not surprised at the position they are in this tournament. They certainly have the personnel to win (they are infact a better than hyderabad, rajasthan, punjab and KKR on paper) but just no support. This is where CSK score, in that they have consistently backed their players when they went through rough phrases (e.g. vijay last year) and it usually pays off.

  • Triniforever on April 26, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    Go Gayle GO!!! Any of the IPL team which will go far in this competition MUST have a WEST INDIAN player in their team! Its just a must because facts do not lie.. ok question? Which team won recently the TW20 WORLD CHAMAPIONSHIP ? Take a look at the present line up for example KINGS ELEVEN?..PROBLEM there? no West Indian player. Whose getting the most runs in IPL? Whose gtting the most wickets in IPL? Whose among the best fielders in IPL? Facts do not lie.. tell that to the owners of each team. Give other West Indians a chance to help the struggling IPL member teams and make this competition more fun and exciting! And yes my name is fully Indian :VISHNU MAHADEO HARBHAJAN ( no relation to Harbhajan Singh)but I am a born Trinidadian West Indian cricket lover wherever in the world it is played... GO IPL.. WELCOME CPL!

  • rubandeva on April 26, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    the only solution yuvraj singh must lead the team

  • Ambi_rocks on April 26, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    I am really not sure why Dinda is still playing... Class is something that's permanent, and the only thing consistent about him is failure... I don't remember Dinda ever destroying any batting line up nor even threatening any batsman with his pace, swing or variation. He loves his mediocre speed and has bowled 90% or more deliveries with the same pace in this IPL... really??? I thought T20 is all about variation to make batsman guessing...

  • TKM-terrors on April 26, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    A sportsman should not give such statements first of all .That too a legend like Donald. PWI has probably one of the best teams in this IPL atleast on paper .. But the way they are utilising their resources is very poor . 1) Luke Wright 2)Finch 3)Uthappa 4)Yuvraj 5) Steven Smith 6) Mathews 7)M Pandey 8)A Nayar 9) Bhuvi 10)Dinda 11) R Sharma .. This should be their XI ... They have 3 decent pacers in Bhuvi,Dinda and Mathews. One decent spinner in Rahul Sharma. Yuvi , Luke Wright and A Nayar are more than enough to complete fifth bowler's quota. Even if one bowler has bad day, these guys can be used to complete his quota too. This would be the most balanced team for them .

  • MrCricketFan1981 on April 25, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    Lets be realistic here, Gayle is also a human being, no disrespect to the innings he played. The rarity here is, he is a muscularly strong guy than anyone I have seen in the world of cricket. And when such a strong guy is in form, he will hit more sixes than another good batsman who is also in form. The PWI bowlers should have been mentally prepared for that before the match started. What I saw, they were scared just after 2 overs of hitting, and Gayle took advantage. As a player and a huge fan of the game, I know how good a bowler can be, when he not sure what to bowl next.

    WHO SAID YOU CAN'T GET AN INFORM BATSMAN OUT, PWI bowlers just served up Gayle what he likes. Donald mentioned Gayle took a timeout in between, you can see the replay, those were not timeouts, those were 2 or 3 good balls, which Gayle couldn't hit. The problem was it was only 2 or 3 in a row. If it was 4 or 5 in a row & Gayle had 1 ball left that he wanted to hit for 6, it would have been a different story.

  • dummy4fb on April 25, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    hey donald, Pune should try this combination and might be we will win the remainng games if it suceeds 1. Uttappa, 2. Finch, 3.Y Singh, 4. Smith(c), 5. Suman/ M Pandey, 6. Samuels, 7. Wright, 8. Rasool, 9. R Sharma, 10. B Kumar, 11. A. Dinda

  • ramli on April 25, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    Yuvaraj is not willing to lead ... may be now not willing to bowl ... RU seems to be satisfied with just swinging the bat for the money he got ... others just go through the motion of IPL for 6-8 weeks as if on a holiday ... where is the motivation? I can bet that all PWI players are praying to be picked by some other team next auction!! This includes support staff too!!!

  • dummy4fb on April 25, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    very worst management i have ever seen... Yuvraj didnt bowl even a single over.. Finch was a failure captain.. But he got another chance... This was weird... Make Yuvi captain the team.. The squad for rest of the games should be Uthappa, Finch, Yuvi (C), Luke, Steve, Marsh, Nayar, Manish, Buvanesh, Rahul, Dinda,

  • dummy4fb on April 25, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    A bit of class in Dinda?! Now that is a classy statement, if ever there was one!!