Pune Warriors India: Traversing an arduous path from being mercurial to being consistent

One wonders how dangerous the Pune Warriors could be gauging by the way in which they win matches © IANS

By Sarang Bhalerao

In gambling parlance they may be termed as a ‘gambler’s nightmare’. Their performance is analogous to the modern art which is devoid of any pattern.

One day, the team bats like a bunch of tyro cricketers. One wonders if they ever use the six inches between their shoulders. The bowling, it seems, is a clairvoyant activity which lacks a sense of purpose.

Yet, one wonders how dangerous Pune Warriors India could be gauging by the way in which they win matches. And mind you, the matches are won courtesy of one-two outstanding performances. The two wins, so far, have largely got to do with: Aaron Finch’s batting at the top of the order; Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s early strikes have pegged back the opposition; Robin Uthappa’s modest thirties have ensured Pune’s triumph.

The pleasing news for the Pune outfit is the positive intent of Steven Smith. He came of age with his unaccompanied mojo in the previous edition of the competition. The match-winning compilations with the bat, the surreal dives on the boundary ropes and the gazelle-like charge on the ball set a right precedence for his colleagues. Yet, he missed out the first three matches since the team management backed the all-rounders Angelo Mathews and Mitchell Marsh. His chutzpah against Chennai might have just set the Pune’s campaign back on track.

Ross Taylor has looked pedantic so far. But expect him to show his flair and big hitting prowess anytime soon.

As Pune proceeds in the competition, either the performing players will be victims of the dreaded law of averages fallacy or their performances will egg on the other members in the team to put their hand up. It is time for the Indian contingent to step up. Manish Pandey must rediscover his touch and form that enabled him to be the first Indian centurion in the Indian Premier League.

Ashok Dinda has had incoherent performances. Being on the fringes of India selection, it is baffling to see some of the loose stuff bowled by him. He is a genuine wicket-taking bowler and a long bowling session with Allan Donald might help him rediscover his lost form.

Rahul Sharma’s assiduous line and length is a big plus for Pune. Ajantha Mendis might be introduced in the later stage of the tournament since most of the Indian wickets are on the slower side.

One man who is has the penchant of unleashing magic is the talismanic southpaw Yuvraj Singh. His fielding standards have dropped significantly; the batting skills and the left-arm slow bowling is a big factor in favour of Pune.

In Abhishek Nayar, Pune have an additional bowling to cover for their main bowler. Nayar’s batting could come in handy.

It will be interesting to see who the management prefers — Angelo Mathews or Mitchell Marsh. Both of them are of the same mould. Mathews is a proven performer for Sri Lanka while Marsh has made a name with some audacious hits. It would be diabolic for either one of them to miss out, but Pune has a sweet dilemma that can get the players on their toes. And do not discount Luke Wright either. He might be in the scheme of things soon as he presents an option as an opening batsman and bowls decent medium pace.

Pune would want to shed the epitaph “mercurial” and replace it with “consistent”. The road towards that yearning is still under construction.