Pune v Mumbai, IPL 2013, Pune May 11, 2013

Warriors an example of how not to bat

Pune Warriors have been listless with the bat and on the field, but where does the franchise go from here?

This is what some weak sides do in an ODI chase, when they know they have been batted out of the game and have no hope of winning. They try and bat out their 50 overs, without showing too much intent to go after the target. This may sound incongruous in the times of Twenty20, it is still not easy to throw your bat around for 50 overs at a stretch.

Is this approach possible in a T20 chase, when say, you have been batted into oblivion by Chris Gayle? Maybe you can be forgiven for backing off if the opposition opener makes 175 off 66 and you go into the break knowing, as does everyone present at the ground, that chasing 264 in 20 overs is just not happening.

But taking the same approach when batting first in a T20? At your home ground? With absolutely nothing to lose, having already lost 11 of 13 games in the season? In their three years of existence, Pune Warriors have done their best to show that the concept of Twenty20 as fast-paced entertainment was sold to the world without watching them bat. When Warriors bat, there is little entertainment, unless your idea of it is to watch some quality batsmen and some not-so-good ones block, nudge, and mistime, all in slow motion.

The IPL is only into its sixth season, but fans have come to expect something different from every franchise. Chennai Super Kings have made go-slow-and-explode into something of a mantra. You know you have to watch out for Gayle, Kohli and AB to do their respective acts when Royal Challengers Bangalore bat, and more often than not, they don't disappoint. Mumbai Indians have big guns all the way from No. 1 to No 6, and invariably, a couple of them fire and post big totals.

What do you get with Warriors? Change as many captains as you will, you get the same brand of directionless batting, as if all they want to do is play out the 20 overs and get off the park. One can't blame them too much, at least not at this stage of another season that has gone nowhere.

Losing streaks can grow on a side, and especially when it has been guilty of putting together multiple ones, a team can easily get into another rut, where every game seems like a chore. The regulars might think, 'Oh well, this looks like that time last season, the good part is that seasons come to an end.' The fringe ones might go, 'Here comes my chance after four matches. Do I bat for my place in the side? I'll take my cue from the regulars.'

You would expect a line-up that looks so competent on paper to translate at least some of it onto the field. You would think the pressure of playing in a billion-dollar league and being owned by a billionaire would at least goad them to go down blazing. What you get instead, game after game, is tepid, mediocre stuff.

Equally disappointing is that most of the personnel are no way close to being mediocre. People still remember that Robin Uthappa used to hit sixes on the walk. His strike-rate this season is 116.66. Yuvraj Singh is arguably a limited-overs great. He's hit a couple of outstanding shots here and there to average 20-odd for the season, which is not saying much for someone around whom the line-up was supposed to be built. One-time captain Angelo Mathews has cut a confused, helpless figure. Current captain Aaron Finch has increasingly done the same.

Allan Donald will have us believe there is some class in the bowling attack in the form of Ashok Dinda, who's leaked close to ten runs an over. If there is class there, it is playing the wrong format. Mitchell Marsh isn't far behind on the economy front. Abhishek Nayar's batting average is the same as the number of games he's played - 11. His strike-rate is an apologetic 90.41.

As sorry as these figures look, their collective effect on the field is worse on the typical Warriors' fan. Bombarded as he is by the notion that T20 is all explosive, thrilling hitting, he has had to endure exactly the opposite for most of three seasons now. Against Mumbai Indians, Warriors did not hit a single boundary for the last 57 deliveries - almost half of their innings. You have to feel for those who made the journey in the afternoon heat to the Sahara Stadium from both sides of the Pune-Mumbai expressway.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • andre on May 13, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    Marlon Samuels was suppose to be punes trumpcard but after two bad games it got worst when he got injured and with it went pune.

  • kamalanathan on May 13, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    I dont know whats wrong with the Team Management.. Y aren't they putting Yuvi as the Captain.. He is the most experienced and flamboyant player in the squad... Abhi Nayar, is one of the worst player .. Not even managing a mediocre performance but still finding a place in plahing 11.Anyhow at end of the day, they have to blame themselves for this poor performance.

  • Himanshu on May 13, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    For a start, Sahara needs to sell this team to either Videocon or the Amanora Group from Pune. The Sahara group is absolutely clueless. Their team's theme song is nothing but an advertisement for Sahara rather than Pune. There is very little actual connection to Pune, with not a single player from Maharashtra in the team. No Bollywood connection either so it's not even popular among the general public. There's very little promotion they do of the team either through TV promos or advertisements and they're the least followed IPL team on social networking sites, and for good reason, they hardly even post there and even when they do, it's like they're coming from an automated machine.

  • Sundhar on May 12, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    The biggest problem in PWI is that people donot have roles. In teams like CSK, RCB and MI, everyone has fixed roles. Hussey - consolidate. Dhoni and ABDe - explode in the end. Bravo - death bowling. Raina and Gayle - natural game in all situations. But in PWI, there is no such fixed role for anyone. It looks like they take the field without any plan at all. Just thinking like another day in the office. They need to focus and plan from next season onwards, or they ll lose even the few fans they have now.

  • Nandagopal on May 12, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    Pune won the match against CSK under the captaincy of Taylor... Guess what happened next... Taylor is not in the playing 11... One or Two good innings by Finch, doesn't deserve a captaincy role... Need to drop Yuvi, Dinda, Nayar, Manish for all the remaining games.... Captaincy to Taylor and smith in the team... If PWI management is not taking the remaining games seriously, then BCCI should consider dropping PWI franchise from IPL...

  • Dummy4 on May 12, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    This is more about managing the team. Finch in many situations appeared to be lost, and it is a pity with senior players like UY not lending that support considering knowing conditions more. But saying this, Taylor should have been the man to lead this team from the start and; Alan Donald could make the best bowling coach but not the man to lead the team. Won't be too surprised if we see a new coach if PW are to remain in the IPL for next year.

  • Dummy4 on May 12, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    Pune and erstwhile Kochi are classic examples, nay evidence that teams were sold on the basis of availability of buyers(sahara and shashi tharoor) instead of cricket culture, tradition, infrastructure and crowd support. Otherwise there is not one single reason to have a pune and kochi team. No cricketing icon ever came out of these 2 cities, unless you consider Sreesanth as one! These 2 teams have hardly got a base of local players to chose from. KT is history, and so will be PWI. More than these two cities, saurashtra deserved to have a team there!

  • Rohan on May 12, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    stupid theme song, irritating cheerleaders, pune warriors as whole is so boring , irritating, stupid management spending crores on player like abhishek nayar in t20, pune warriors should change the management before players.....

  • Binu on May 12, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Cochin Tuskers were far better than PWI,yes the batting is without direction exept B Kumar the bowling is very week.No inspiration at all,At least for the next season buy some good Indian players,SuryaKumar Yadav is wasted in MI bench so as Rishi Dhawan & Amitoz Sing,Mukundu is benched in RCB,many Indian bolwers are warming the RCB bench,Sidharth Chitnis is a good player just warming the KXIP bench,can go for Chirag Jani,who is a good allrounder Smit Patel is a good Wicket Kepper,better than good for nothing Mahesh Rawt and Sandeepan Das from Bengal will be a good addition.The PWI management is clueless just like a tailender facing Dale styne's Outwsinging 148 KPH deliveries..!