Indian Premier League - Pune Warriors India

Pune Warriors India (Marathi: पुणे वारीयर्स इंडिया) was a franchise cricket team that represented the city of Pune in the Indian Premier League. The team was one of two IPL franchises from the Indian state of Maharashtra, the other being Mumbai Indians. It was also one of the two new franchises added to the IPL for the 2011 season, alongside the also-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala. The team was owned by Sahara Adventure Sports Limited, a group company of the Indian business conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar. The team’s home ground was the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium located in the Pune suburb of Gahunje.

On 21 May 2013, Pune Warriors India withdrew from the IPL over financial differences with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) stemming from the valuation of the annual franchise fee it had to pay. Their last match, before pulling out, was on 19 May 2013 against Delhi Daredevils. The franchise was officially terminated by the BCCI 5 months later, on 26 October 2013.

The team was not successful in their three years in the tournament, finishing second from last in their inaugural season and in their final season and last in 2012. Overall, the team played 46 matches, out of which they won 12 and lost 33 (1 match no-result). The all-time leading run scorer of the side was Robin Uthappa while the all-time leading wicket-taker was Rahul Sharma.

Franchise history

On 21 March 2010, Sahara Adventure Sports Limited successfully bid 19 billion (US$310 million) for the Pune franchise, the highest bid by any company in the history of IPL. The Videocon Group, an Indian consumer appliance manufacturer, also bid for the Pune IPL Team, but were unsuccessful. Along with Kochi Tuskers Kerala, the team joined the existing eight teams in the IPL for the 2011 season.

2011 season

Being a new team in the IPL with a fresh auction purse, the Warriors bid very aggressively in the 2011 IPL auction held on 9 January 2011. The Warriors signed a number of top international cricketers including Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Jesse Ryder, Angelo Mathews, Murali Kartik, Ashish Nehra, Graeme Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Callum Ferguson, Alfonso Thomas, Wayne Parnell and Jerome Taylor. Also a number of uncapped Indian players who had played for various franchises before were roped in including Rahul Sharma, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Mithun Manhas, Mohnish Mishra, Ganesh Gaikwad, Manish Pandey and Kamran Khan. Yuvraj was nominated the captain of the team ahead of the 2011 Indian Premier League, while former Australian opener Geoff Marsh was appointed as the team’s coach. On 3 May 2011, the Pune Warriors selected former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly to play for them as a replacement for the injured Ashish Nehra. This marked Ganguly’s comeback to the IPL. Ganguly had been discarded by his former team Kolkata Knight Riders prior to the 2011 IPL auction and was not bought by any of the teams in the auction

First withdrawal from IPL and return

Sahara withdrew Pune Warriors India from the IPL along with the sponsorship of the Indian cricket team just hours before the 2012 IPL auction was about to start, providing a major blow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the IPL, which was already reeling after the disbanding of Kochi Tuskers Kerala in late 2011. They also boycotted the auction held on 4 February 2012. The main reason for the withdrawal was due to a problem in the amount of franchise fee to be paid by the Pune team. Sahara insisted that it had bid a huge amount for the Pune franchise under the notion that there would be 94 matches in the 2011 IPL season. As the BCCI later reduced the number of IPL matches to 74, Sahara demanded for a reduction in the amount of franchise fee to be paid by them to maintain viable IPL proposition. Other reasons included disputes between Sahara and the BCCI regarding the IPL rules, such as player retention and the 4-foreign player rule and also the refusal on the part of the BCCI to allow Pune to add Yuvraj Singh’s price to their auction purse so that they could buy another player as a replacement for Yuvraj. Yuvraj was set to miss the whole 2012 season as he was undergoing treatment for germ cell cancer. On 6 February 2012, Subrata Roy, the chairman of Sahara India Pariwar, said that Sourav Ganguly will take a call on reconciliation. A week later, the BCCI announced that they have allowed Yuvraj Singh’s replacement for Pune Warriors India for the 2012 season, though a deadlock still persisted between the two parties on long term sponsorship.

2012 season

Though Pune boycotted the IPL auction, they signed international cricketers outside the auction including Marlon Samuels, Luke Wright, Steve Smith, Tamim Iqbal, James Hopes and Michael Clarke. They also signed Indian players including Raiphi Gomez, Ali Murtaza, Ashok Dinda, Anustup Majumdar and Mahesh Rawat. Due to Yuvraj’s unavailability for the entire season, Ganguly was made the captain of the franchise. He was also made part of the coaching staff as a mentor. Former South African fast bowler Allan Donald and former Indian batsman Praveen Amre were also roped in as bowling and batting coaches respectively, replacing Marsh who had resigned to become the Sri Lankan coach

2013 season

For the 2013 season, Pune Warriors India retained Steve Smith, Tamim Iqbal, Marlon Samuels and Luke Wright but released Clarke, James Hopes, Callum Ferguson, Alfonso Thomas, Murali Kartik and Jesse Ryder. Ganguly announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in October 2012, leaving the franchise without a captain. In the auction which was held on 3 February 2013, Clarke was bought back by the franchise for $400,000. The team also bought international players like Ajantha Mendis and Kane Richardson and signed domestic players like Abhishek Nayar, Tirumalasetti Suman, Ishwar Pandey, Parvez Rasool and Udit Birla for the 2013 season. The franchise also swapped a player with the Delhi Daredevils, trading Nehra for New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor. Yuvraj also returned to the team following his recovery from cancer. Unfortunately for the franchise, Clarke, who was the frontrunner to lead the team, was ruled out of the entire season with a recurring back and hamstring injury, which was aggravated during the Australian tour of India held earlier. On 28 March 2013, the franchise named Sri Lankan Test and ODI captain and all-rounder Angelo Mathews as the captain for the 2013 season and also signed Australian batsman Aaron Finch as a replacement for Clarke.

Home ground

In their inaugural season in 2011, the team played their home matches at the DY Patil Stadium at Navi Mumbai, as their designated home venue, the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, was still under construction. Only from the 2012 season onwards did the team actually begin to play their home matches in Pune at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, named after the Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar. It is located at Gahunje, a village located about 23 kilometres (14 mi) north-west of Pune on the Mumbai Pune Expressway. It has a seating capacity of 55,000 spectators.

Team identity

Team name and logo

The Pune franchise named the team Pune Warriors India in honour of the Maratha Empire which once ruled from the city. The Pune Warriors India logo was a spear wielding, attacking cavalry-warrior (warrior on horse) in the hue of the Indian tricolour.

Jersey colours

In their inaugural season, the team’s jersey was black with silver stripes on the sides. The jersey also incorporated the attacking warrior logo in the top-left corner of the shirt. From the 2012 season onwards, the colour of the jersey was changed to turquoise blue with silver stripes on the sides and the Indian tricolour on the back collar and sleeve edges of the shirt. The attacking warrior logo was again on the top-left corner of the shirt. Adidas was the kit manufacturer for the 2011 season, but for the final two seasons, T. K. Sportswear was the kit manufacturer. Indian online fashion clothing brand American Swan was the official lifestyle clothing partner for the team.

Sponsors

For their first two seasons, the main sponsor for the team was TVS Motors. TVS was replaced as the team’s main sponsor for their final season by Sansui Electric, a Japanese consumer appliance manufacturer. The other sponsors were Lux Cozi, Nissan, UB Group, Linc Pens, Oakley Inc., You Broadband, Killer Jeans and Finolex Group.

Theme song

The team’s official theme song was Sahara Saharaa, a Hindi song sung by leading playback singer and music composer Shankar Mahadevan. The video of the song showed a warrior riding on a horse and inspiring the Pune residents to come to the stadium where they witnessed the team cricketers. Then the team cricketers as well as the residents performed the Sahara salute (putting the right hand over the heart and saying “Jai Sahara”).

Second and final withdrawal from IPL

On 21 May 2013, just two days after finishing its league campaign, Sahara withdrew Pune Warriors India from the IPL for the second time in three years. The reason, according to BCCI, was the encashing of the team’s bank guarantee after Sahara defaulted on paying the entire franchise fee. BCCI sources said that Sahara paid 20% of the franchise fee in January 2013 and had promised to pay the remaining amount by 19 May 2013 but they failed to do so

On 26 October 2013, the BCCI officially terminated its agreement with the team, bringing an end to the team’s IPL sojourn.