Allrounders of the side boasts of the extremely useful Lankan Angelo Matheews. His role is likely to be that of the finisher. Others are James Hopes and Steven Smith from Australia. Former Kochi player Gomez adds to the depth. Parnell and Luke Wright can also bat and bowl. Parnell especially has been in excellent form opening the batting and bowling his quota for South Africa. Uthappa is the first choice keeper backed up by Ekalavya Diwedi. Here a regular keeper could have done a world of good for the side.
Pune has a strong pace attack. Deposed Indian seamer Nehra will spearhead the attack with South Africa’s Alonso Thomas. Both are experienced a lot to react to the need of the hour. Nehra will be itching to prove his utility given that he has been dropped from Indian team despite being the best bowler in the lead up to the World Cup. Ashok Dinda is the latest addition and given the form that he is in, Pune is going to be pleased. Wagh proved his ability last season and Bhuvanesh Kumar will prove useful. Shane Warne’s find Kamran Khan provides variety with his slinging action. Parnell himself is a successful pacer.
Finally the side’s performance will depend on the amicability that prevails in the squad. The management has been reluctant to own the side and Coaches are not in best mood. Ganguly’s captaincy will be keenly followed and the side’s progress may depend on whether he can inspire the side as much as he did a decade back. For that he initially must prove his worth in the playing XI with his bat. The side will miss Yuvraj Singh sorely but then not just Pune but every cricketer and fan would be praying for his speedy recovery. The man is too precious to be lost from Cricket. With not so spectacular Indian group, Pune will have to strive hard to enter the semis. All in All, the side’s performance will be based on “Ganguly”.
Best XI : Greame Smith – Manish Pandey – Saurav Ganguly – Marlon Samuels - Angelo Matheews – Robin Uthappa – Wayne Parnell – Murali Karthik – Rahul Sharma – Ashok Dinda – Ashish Nehra.