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Pune Warriors India

Dhruv Rupani March 15, 2012
Pune Warriors India Logo

Pune Warriors India Logo

Cricket in the western part of the country was given another big boost when Pune was the city which was declared the ninth franchise of the Indian Premier League in early 2010. The much diversified Sahara Group of companies, through its subsidiary Sahara Adventure Sports Limited won the bid for owning the team of Pune in the IPL after an intense auction. It was a record bid of $USD 370 million, which is of approximately Rs. 1700 crore and this meant that Pune overtook Mumbai from being the most expensive team bought in the five year existence of the IPL. This was another major investment by Subrato Roy in Indian cricket, following his company’s sponsorship of the Indian national cricket team since the last decade.

That being done, Pune was all geared up for the player auction in January 2011 and was expected to fire on all cylinders when it came to buying some of the finest players in T20 cricket. Robin Uthappa has so far been the team’s most valued player, since he was purchased for as much as $USD 2.1 million in the auction, which also made him the season’s second most expensive player alongside Kolkata Knight Riders’ Yusuf Pathan.

They also managed to snap Sri Lanka’s vice-captain and all-rounder Angelo Matthews from the Knight Riders for $USD 950,000. Amongst the other overseas players, they availed the services of South Africa’s trio of Test skipper Graeme Smith and fast bowlers Alfonso Thomas and Wayne Parnell, New Zealand’s pair of explosive opener Jesse Ryder and spinning all-rounder Nathan McCullum, Australia’s emerging trio of batsman Callum Ferguson, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and wicketkeeper batsman Tim Paine and West Indies’ pacer Jerome Taylor.

Whereas their Indian contingent is equally strong. Murali Kartik, who also plays for Somerset in the English county championship was picked in the dying stages of the auction by the team. Ashish Nehra, the fast bowler who is now discarded from the Indian ODI team was purchased for $USD 850,000 but was injured and consequently replaced by one of India’s greatest captains of all time, Sourav Ganguly. The bowling department also has the likes of youngsters such as leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, local fast bowler Shrikant Wagh and Mumbai’s left-arm pacer Kamran Khan whose popularity grew heights when he bowled extremely well to Chris Gayle for the Rajasthan Royals in a match against Kolkata Knight Riders in South Africa in the IPL 2009.

The batting on the other hand, proves that Pune Warriors India has one of the strongest domestic bunch of players amongst all the teams in the competition as those players hail from several parts of the country. Abhishek Jhunjhunwala is one of the rising stars of Bengal cricket, Mohnish Mishra hails from Madhya Pradesh, Mithun Manhas is a veteran for Delhi in Ranji Trophy cricket, Dheeraj Jadhav is from Mumbai while Manish Pandey made a name for himself in the IPL 2009 after scoring a century against Deccan Chargers, after opening the batting for the Anil Kumble-led Royal Challengers Bangalore in South Africa.

But it was Yuvraj Singh, the team’s second most expensive player who was named captain of the team since he has met with moderate success after leading Kings XI Punjab in the first two seasons of the IPL. 2011 was all set to become Pune’s season as Yuvraj won the man of the tournament award in India’s World Cup winning campaign for his all-round performances and his consistency was back at its best in terms of batting, bowling and fielding as well.

Pune Warriors India in the IPL 2011 – 9th position

Pune made history on April 10, 2011 by being the ninth team to play in the Indian Premier League. Eight days after winning the man of the tournament in the World Cup, Yuvraj Singh changed his jersey from blue to black and was this time actually leading a team on to the field. This was a ‘home’ game against the Kings XI Punjab at the Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, with Punjab incidentally being Yuvraj’s former IPL team.

Pune was clinical in their performance on the field, as they chased down a target of 113 with not much of difficulty. The team registered a comprehensive 7 wicket win with Shrikant Wagh, the young Maharashtra bowler making a big statement in the first match itself of the tournament, about the oodles of talent he possesses with figures of 3/16 in 4 overs, winning him the man of the match award.

Their next match was against another new team in the IPL and the now defunct, Kochi Tuskers Kerala at home. This was a much tougher match for Pune Warriors India to win since they had to chase 149 under lights against a bowling attack comprising of R Vinay Kumar, RP Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Muttiah Muralitharan. However, Robin Uthappa’s 31 not out was an innings of controlled aggression and that helped Pune win by 4 wickets and he deservedly won the man of the match award for that effort.

Pune were the No.1 team for the first week of the IPL 2011, and had a similar start to their first ever tournament like the Kolkata Knight Riders did in 2008, having won their first two matches on the trot. But like the Knight Riders, they began to collapse and they did in dramatic fashion.

In the next match against the Delhi Daredevils, Yuvraj Singh played a captain’s knock of an unbeaten 66 off just 32 balls to guide the Pune Warriors India to 187 after 20 overs, on what was a flat batting pitch in Navi Mumbai. Delhi were behind for most of the game as it was Yuvi again who picked 4 wickets for 29 runs in 4 overs, but the Australian duo of Aaron Finch and James Hopes won the match for the Daredevils in the last over, with four balls to spare. Pune may have lost their first match in the history of the IPL but Yuvraj won the man of the match for that fine all-round performance.

The defeat against Delhi Daredevils began a seven match losing streak for the team, which included two more losses at home. One was against the defending champions Chennai Super Kings by a comprehensive margin of 8 wickets, although Yuvi continued his great form with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 43-ball 62 in the team total of 141/6 after 20 overs. And the other was against the Mumbai Indians by 21 runs, which seemed more like a home game for Mumbai, due to the Navi Mumbai crowd supporting the Sachin Tendulkar-led team. Pune was also undone by a late onslaught from the Andhra youngster T Suman and Kieron Pollard.

Whereas in the away clashes, Yuvraj did not have a happy ending at the Wankhede Stadium this time around as Mumbai Indians won the first ever ‘Maharashtra Derby’ by 7 wickets, with Munaf Patel picking 3/8 in his 4 overs, including Yuvraj’s wicket as none of the batsmen fired against a quality Mumbai bowling attack, having been bowled out for a paltry 118. That was followed by a defeat against the Chennai Super Kings in Chennai by 25 runs as Yuvi once again was the lone ‘Warrior’ ironically, as he hit a slow 43-ball 34, top scoring in an unsuccessful run chase of 143.

The worst was to follow for the Pune Warriors India as they suffered a 26 run defeat the hands of the resurgent Royal Challengers Bangalore team at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. The bowling attack had virtually no answer to Chris Gayle’s onslaught as well as Virat Kohli’s persistence as the Royal Challengers finished with a massive 181 in 20 overs. Yuvraj was again in the action and although Jesse Ryder scored another half century, it could not prevent another loss for the reeling team.

It was evident that although there was nothing wrong with the playing XI as such, but at times when the batting fired, the bowling flopped and vice-a-versa which was hurting the team badly. But the team faced flak for not playing Sourav Ganguly in the team earlier in the tournament, although he was bought in as a replacement player for Ashish Nehra and the fact that Yuvraj Singh and Robin Uthappa should have batted at No.3 and No.4 respectively, so that their run rate in the first 10 overs can demoralize the opposition bowlers and it can set a platform for other batsmen to just slog and nothing else.

After Royal Challengers Bangalore, it was time for Pune Warriors India to face a bashing from Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals in their ‘fortress’ Jaipur. The team was not able to defend a total of 143, as Rajasthan chased the target with three balls to spare as Ross Taylor’s 47 not out off 35 balls crashed Pune’s hopes of pulling off atleast one more win in the competition. But their unbeaten streak against the Kings XI Punjab continued, as they posted a 5 wicket win in Mohali as it was the bowlers who won them the game, since they required only 120 to win and Yuvraj Singh on his home ground, hit 35 runs off 15 balls to seal the victory. Rahul Sharma, the leg spinner became a household name after this match, since he was declared the man of the match for picking up the key wickets of both the openers, captain Adam Gilchrist and the resurgent Paul Valthaty.

Another away win was registered against the Deccan Chargers by 6 wickets in Hyderabad, as they successfully chased down a target of 137 with 10 balls to spare and Mitchell Marsh, incidentally a former Deccan player was declared the man of the match for his spell of 4/25 in 4 overs. The match was also the first of Sourav Ganguly in the IPL 2011 and he fittingly remained not out in the chase after scoring a run-a-ball 32, batting at No.3.

But Deccan Chargers managed to hit back in Navi Mumbai with a tit for tat 6 wicket victory six days later, as Pune lost the match in the last over in the pursuit of defending 136 runs. Yuvraj’s captaincy lacked imagination and any sense of urgency, as he surprisingly chose to set defensive fields instead of attacking ones. If critics doubted that he is not captaincy materials, this game confirmed their fears. The only positives that the Pune Warriors India could take out of this game was the batting performance of Mitchell Marsh and the bowling of Rahul Sharma, who once again impressed and his rise has been astronomical ever since.

Their fate was sealed with another home loss to the Kolkata Knight Riders in the only match they played against them in the tournament, although Pune gained a lot of support as the media hyped it to be ‘Sourav Ganguly’s revenge match’ since he was playing against his former team, a city which unceremoniously dumped him after the first three seasons. But this Kolkata Knight Riders was not deterred and Yusuf Pathan produced a spectacular all-round performance of 2/23 after bowling 4 overs, which included the wickets of Ryder and Uthappa as well as hitting 29 runs off just 25 balls to take the Knight Riders to the victory post.

The last match in Delhi against the Delhi Daredevils was washed out, which meant that fortunately Pune Warriors India did not have to face the humiliation of finishing last in the competition. They finished 9th out of the 10 teams, with 4 wins and 9 losses in 14 matches.

The team had some brilliant individual performances from the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Rahul Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Jesse Ryder and Mitchell Marsh but this team was a perfect example of the fact that it is not individuals but a team which wins matches in sport and Yuvraj alongside the coaching staff clearly failed to make Pune play as one team.

Pune Warriors India this year and the team

This year, there has been a massive hype surrounding the team. Since they backed out of the player auction at the 11th hour, they were denied the golden opportunity of purchasing several players who could have strengthened the squad further. Pune Warriors India also suffered a major setback with the news that their star player and captain Yuvraj Singh was diagnosed with lung cancer and it could take him several months to play competitive cricket again. It was due to him that the owners Sahara Group and the BCCI had a spat about, which is now been cleared and the Pune Warriors India will be the ninth team participating in the IPL 2012. The first player that they signed up this season is West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels, on the behest of Sourav Ganguly since Mitchell Marsh is injured and unlikely to participate in this year’s competition. Whereas, South Africa’s latest batting sensation Richard Levi and the man who scored the fastest hundred in the history of World Cup cricket last year, Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien also are rumoured to be on the Pune Warriors India’s radar.

Here are some of the players representing the squad this season and who will be crucial in Pune Warriors Indias’ chances of a better showing than the previous season –

1) Sourav Ganguly (India)

Sourav Ganguly will lead Pune Warriors in the IPL 2012

Sourav Ganguly will lead Pune Warriors in the IPL 2012

‘Dada’ as he is affectionately called, continues to be an icon for Indian cricket, even after his retirement in October 2008 and not to mention, Bengal cricket as well for the state needs him at the helm of their cricketing affairs. Born on July 8, 1972 in an affluent family in Kolkata which was into the print business, Ganguly was attracted to play football initially but switched to cricket after his elder brother Snehashish encouraging him to use his equipment to practice, since he was a Ranji Trophy cricketer for Bengal.

Sourav soon made rapid strides to make his ODI debut in Australia against the West Indies in 1992. But he was dropped from the team after the tour for not proving his worth to the team and his attitude towards the game. Come 1996 though and the tour of England changed everything. He scored a Test century on debut at Lords, being one of the rare Indians to do so and since then he never looked back.

He went on to transform from an disillusioned whipping boy to a more focused bulwark of the Indian batting line-up in both ODIs and Tests, and his stature as one of the finest ODI batsmen in the world was confirmed after the 1999 World Cup incidentally in England as well. His rapid rise though set the foundation for a memorable phase of his career.

Indian fans will always pay a tribute to him for his tenure as the captain of the national team, which began from March 2000 against South Africa in an ODI series at home. He could be considered as the ‘Winston Churchill’ of Indian cricket, who was a war time leader since he was at the centre of affairs when India was in a state of crisis.

He made India from a passive and a team which never forgot to wish good morning to their opponents into an aggressive and fighting unit which never bowed down to any opposition at any stage of a match. It was Ganguly who was responsible for making the careers of young cricketers then such as Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, the current captain MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh who were an integral part of the 2011 World Cup winning team, by backing them at the toughest phases of their careers. While the seniors such as Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid flourished under his captaincy and consequently the team not only extended its dominant run at home, but also began to win away matches more frequently. The most famous away win in ODIs would definitely be the Natwest Series final against England at Lords, where Sourav would be remembered the most for getting rid of his torso and going topless in celebration of the victory. Whereas in Tests, Rahul Dravid kissed the India crest with passion following his 305 runs in the match against Australia in Adelaide in 2003.

It was under his reign that India won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2002 and made it to the finals of the World Cup 2003 in South Africa, before losing to Australia. But from 2005, his end was near with a massive rift with then coach Greg Chappell. Ganguly did make a sensational comeback in early 2007 but was dropped from the ODI team a year later and played his last Test match against Australia in 2008 in Nagpur, where MS Dhoni paid a tribute to him by asking him to lead the team for the final session of play in Australia’s second innings on day four.

But he continued to play some form of cricket with Bengal in the Ranji Trophy which he does till date and the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL from the period of 2008-2010, where he led his home city in 2008 and 2010 and ended as the highest run scorer ever for KKR, with over 1300 runs in close to 40 matches. Although he was ignored royally at the 2011 IPL auction  by the team, he was picked as a replacement player for Ashish Nehra by the Pune Warriors India.

Now, he is the mentor of the team and in all likelihood will captain the team in the absence of Yuvraj Singh. What a turnaround for a man who was not given a chance by anyone to play competitive cricket again! Ganguly’s terrific leadership qualities will be the key in Pune’s turnaround this season, as the youngsters would seem to thrive more under his captaincy and it is expected that he would be more imaginative on the field.

2) Marlon Samuels (West Indies)

Marlon Nathaniel Samuels was born on February 5, 1981 in Kingston, Jamaica. He might go down as one of the wasted talents of West Indies cricket, although he still has some years of cricket left in him. He made his Test debut against world champions Australia in Adelaide in December 2000 and his style of playing was reminiscent to that of Sir Vivian Richards, since his confidence was soaring high, his composure was outstanding and his technique seemed to be flawless at one point of time, which was astonishing considering the fact that he had never played first class cricket for his province, Jamaica.

But with his initial success, a streak of arrogance came within him and as a result his game declined to a huge extent, although he has scored a Test hundred in India, precisely at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2002 in difficult conditions to bat in. Due to his inconsistency, he was in and out of the West Indies team but was completely out of the team from the summer of 2008.

It is because he was involved in a controversy related to match fixing on the tour of India, just before the World Cup 2007. The Indian police alleged that Samuels gave out vital information about the West Indies team to a bookie named Mukesh Kochhar on the eve of the first one-day international between West Indies and India in Nagpur. The ICC decided to ban him for a period of two years beginning from May 2008, on the charge that he broke the rules regarding players not allowed to bet on matches. Although Samuels continues to keep his word that he was innocent at the time, he will perhaps never be forgotten for this incident.

His ban ended in May 2010 but returned to international cricket a year later, against Pakistan in a T20 international at home. Due to his good run in the last few months for the West Indies, he was picked by the franchise Duronto Rajshahi in the inaugural and ongoing Bangladesh Premier League for $USD 360,000 and is an integral part of that team. He then received a call from both the ultimate jewels of Indian cricket, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar to play in the IPL for their respective teams but Samuels respected the person who called him first and struck a deal consequently with the Pune Warriors India for an undisclosed amount.

He can still hit the ball often as in the past, but it is his all-round ability of bowling spin and more importantly containing runs which could be crucial for Pune this season. And he is no mut on the field too. Samuels could be the surprise package this season for opposition teams, although he is available for a maximum of 10 matches since Australia would be touring the West Indies during the period of the IPL.

3) Angelo Mathews (Sri Lanka)

Born on June 2, 1987 in Colombo, Angelo Mathews has become one of the world’s most sought-after all-rounders and the Pune Warriors India can consider themselves fortunate to have purchased him, although he did not play a single match of the IPL 2011. He can bat anywhere in the middle order and more importantly, his variations in bowling can trouble even the best of batsmen in the business. This is the prime reason he is currently the vice-captain of Sri Lanka.

His rise began at the age of 16, when he first played for the Sri Lankan Under-19 team against Pakistan in 2003. Due to consistent performances for that team as well as the Sri Lanka A team, he managed to get his first breakthrough into the Sri Lankan national team, on the tour of Zimbabwe in November 2008, where he made his ODI debut. His Test debut was soon to come, and that was against Pakistan at Galle in July 2009, when the team needed a genuine all-rounder who could bat lower down the order following Tillakratne Dilshan’s promotion to open the batting in all formats of the game under Kumar Sangakkara’s leadership.

He has so far appeared in 22 Test matches for Sri Lanka and has narrowly missed on hundreds, having been either dismissed or stranded in the ‘Nervous Nineties’ several times but has scored 1116 runs at an average of 39.85, with one Test hundred to his name and the highest score being 105 not out. He has however, only picked 7 wickets in Test cricket so far.

Mathews has also featured in 69 ODIs for his country, scoring 1428 runs at an average of 34 with no hundred yet to his name but scored a memorable and unbeaten fifty against Australia in Melbourne in November 2010 to help seal Sri Lanka’s first ever ODI series win in the country. He has proved that he has the capability of finishing off matches, and this is why he can be such an asset for any team that he plays for. He has also picked 42 wickets with an impressive economy rate of 4.68.

In 25 T20 internationals, he has scored 312 runs and has taken 15 wickets, being the key in Sri Lanka reaching the finals of the World T20 in England in 2009 and the semifinal of the 2010 edition of the tournament in the West Indies. He stunned the world with his breathtaking fielding in England, which makes him a complete all-round package.

Although his career has been hampered by injuries, this is the only impediment in the path of his success. But in T20 cricket, he has a great future and could be a worthy player for Pune for the next two seasons.

4) Callum Ferguson (Australia)

Callum James Ferguson was born on November 21, 1984 in the northern part of the city of Adelaide in South Australia. The 27 year old has represented the Australian U-19 team in the past and made his first class debut for South Australia against Victoria at the Adelaide Oval in October 2004 and had an excellent first season, having scored 733 runs at an average of 38.57. His success in first class cricket resulted in his ODI debut for Australia against New Zealand in February 2009, as he was a part of the Australian selectors’ plans to rebuild the ODI team, following the retirements of greats after the 2007 World Cup winning campaign.

He has played 30 ODIs for Australia so far, and has an impressive average of 41.43 with a highest score of 71 not out against England at The Oval in September 2009. Yet, he remains out of the side due to the Australian batting line-up being eternally strong and the fact that he was injured during the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa in 2009, which meant that there were other players in the waiting to grab a spot in the middle order.

But he has been a popular figure in South Australia, having represented the Redbacks in ODI cricket and currently the Adelaide Strikers in T20 cricket. In the Champions League 2011 in India, he scored two fifties which played a key role in South Australia qualifying for the tournament and notably winning against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

This season, Ferguson should get an opportunity to play for the Pune Warriors India as he has been in good touch off late and is a livewire on the field as well.

5) Alfonso Thomas (South Africa)

Alfonso Clive Thomas was born on February 9, 1977 in the port city of Cape Town. He is famously known to be an integral part of the Somerset Sabres in the English county championship and is also known as the ‘Great Alfonso’ since he is an effective death overs bowler, giving away very few runs to the opposition.

His peak period in South African cricket though began from the 2003-04 domestic season, in which he captured 36 wickets in 8 matches for the Northern Titans. He was on the verge of making his Test debut against India in 2004 in India, joining the national squad as a standby for temperamental pacer Andre Nel. He had to wait for three more years before he could represent South Africa in an international match, and he did so eventually in a T20 match against Pakistan at Johannesburg in which he picked 3/25 in 4 overs, a match winning spell in the end.

Unfortunately, he has not been able to cement a spot in the national team due to his age being a major obstacle and ofcourse the fact that there is a dearth of fast bowlers in the country who maybe better than him in many ways. Yet, due to his performances in England, he was able to attract the Pune Warriors India team management in the IPL 2011 auction and he was purchased for $USD 250,000. He even plays for the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash in Australia.

His batting abilities lower down the order might at times make a huge difference as runs from anyone’s bat matter in T20 cricket the most and Pune Warriors India would hope that his contributions would once again make some impact in changing their fortunes this season.

6) Murali Kartik (India)

Born on September 11, 1976 in Chennai, Murali Kartik began his cricketing career in the capital city of New Delhi, turning out for the Railways cricket team in the Ranji Trophy. With good performances, he was able to make his Test debut against South Africa in February 2000 alongside Anil Kumble, forming the spin duo of the team. But then Sourav Ganguly, who was incidentally the captain of the team after that Test match did not wish to pick him in the side due to the disciplinary problems which expelled him from the National Cricket Academy. As a result, that allowed Harbhajan Singh to form a potent spinning pair with Kumble for more than five years which left Kartik out of the team and as a third choice spinner in case one of them gets injured.

He was unfortunately born in an era when there was massive competition amongst spinners in Indian cricket. Although now that art is on a decline with Kumble retired and Harbhajan dropped from the Indian team, he is already 35 years of age with not much of cricket left in him. But he has found solace in the arms of English county cricket, where he has been the most successful Indian cricketer of all time, having represented Lancashire, Middlesex, Somerset and currently Surrey in the championship making him the most sought-after player.

In the IPL, he was a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders team for the first three seasons and was a crucial bowler for the team to have due to his economy rate being excellent, if he was not able to pick wickets on a regular basis. Some teams need their spinners to have such an ability, and Pune Warriors India seems to be one of them since they picked him for $USD 400,000 in the auction last year having snubbed him in the first round, fearing that their budget might be finished early itself.

He would be an important guide for the young Rahul Sharma and together both of them have the ability to tear apart any batting line-up in T20 cricket and Pune for sure, would depend on their bowlers again to win them matches as most of the teams have the batting firepower in the IPL to win on a consistent basis.

Pune Warriors India and controversies

Pune Warriors India came in the news for the wrong reasons for the first time, when Subrato Roy believed that he could have owned one of the eight franchises at the inception of the IPL in 2008, but his bid was for some reason only known to the BCCI, quashed. Yet, the tiff between the Sahara Group and the BCCI was publicized greatly in the last couple of weeks which led to the player auction.

Sahara wanted the BCCI to give them some concession about replacing their captain Yuvraj Singh for the IPL 2012, since Yuvraj is fighting a tough battle with lung cancer and is unexpected to play this year. The concession was that their purse should be increased to $USD 3.4 million and they should be given permission to buy atleast one replacement player for him consequently.

Since the BCCI initially rejected Sahara’s demand, the company decided to terminate their sponsorship contract with the Indian cricket team as well as not playing in the IPL this year and as a result the Pune Warriors India did not turn up for the auction.

The Yuvraj issue also made Pune contemplate the idea of playing five foreign players in every match of the IPL, which the other eight franchises went on to oppose since it believed that would be unfair to their chances of competing this year. Eventually, the BCCI and Sahara patched up but on certain conditions. BCCI allowed Sahara to pick as many as players as they wished to depending on the limitations of the squad composition, and those specifically who were not picked in the auction so that the other franchises have a level playing field with the Pune Warriors India.

Secondly, the team was allowed to have a strategic business partner in case they wished to sell some percentage of their stake as per the terms of the Franchise Agreement of the IPL. And lastly, Sahara’s wish of hosting one of the IPL playoff matches could be fulfilled only on the consent of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, as Bangalore was awarded the rights to host both the playoff matches in the IPL 2012 as they were the finalists last season.

This controversy though, made the Pune Warriors India dominate headlines out of all the IPL teams this year and has put into the doubt the value of the Brand IPL which has somehow managed to keep itself afloat since the last five years.

Interesting facts about Pune Warriors India

1)    The trio of Manish Pandey, Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa represented the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2009 and 2010 IPL seasons.

2)    Manish Pandey is the first Indian ever to have scored a century in the Indian Premier League, with his unbeaten 114 not out in 2009 against the Deccan Chargers.

3)    Jesse Ryder has scored every Test hundred of his against India so far.

4)    The trio of Mohnish Mishra, Mitchell Marsh and Rahul Sharma turned out for the Deccan Chargers in the IPL 2010.

5)    Mitchell Marsh was the captain of the Australian team which won the U-19 World Cup in 2010.

6)    Geoff Marsh coached his younger son Mitchell, in the IPL 2010 since he was appointed head coach of the Pune Warriors India and recently was the coach of the Sri Lankan cricket team as well.

7)    Nathan McCullum is the 10th highest wicket-taker in T20 internationals so far, with 31 wickets to his name.

8)    The trio of Sourav Ganguly, Angelo Mathews and Murali Kartik played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2010.

9)    Murali Kartik and Alfonso Thomas played together for the Somerset Sabres in the English county championships.

10) Alfonso Thomas is the captain of the Somerset Sabres.

11) The batting coach of the team, Praveen Amre hails from Mumbai and hit a century on his Test debut in South Africa in 1992 against the home team.

12) Graeme Smith was an integral part of the Cape Cobras T20 team in the last few years, which continued to be champions in South African domestic cricket.

13) Mithun Manhas and Ashish Nehra have played together for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy.

14) Ashish Nehra has the best bowling figures by an Indian in World Cup cricket, with figures of 6/23 against England in 2003 in a group game in Durban.

15) Dheeraj Jadhav was a part of the Mumbai Champs team in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2008.

16) Abhishek Jhunjhunwala was a part of the Royal Bengal Tigers team in the ICL 2008.

17) Pune Warriors India is the only team in the IPL which has not played a single match in their home city as yet, due to the MCA Stadium in Pune being under construction last year.

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