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Updated: April 10, 2011 02:07 IST

Kings XI - Pune Warriors face off: Gilly has the edge

Nandakumar Marar
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Pune Warriors captain Yuvraj Singh with Kings XI Punjab captain Adams Gilchrist at the team's practic session at D.Y. Patil stadium. Photo: Vivek Bendre
The Hindu
Pune Warriors captain Yuvraj Singh with Kings XI Punjab captain Adams Gilchrist at the team's practic session at D.Y. Patil stadium. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Yuvraj has taken on a more challenging assignment by accepting captaincy of the Pune franchise. Leading a group of cricketers has more to do with man- management skills than technical acumen.

Adam Gilchrist is walking down a familiar path when leading Kings XI Punjab for the first time in DLF IPL4. A new team and new management does not change the contours of captaincy for the wicket-keeper/batsman, familiar with the frenetic pace of T20 cricket and instinctive decision-making required for team leaders to stay ahead in the game. The opening game against Yuvraj Singh-led Sahara Pune Warriors will see the Australian looking forward to making an impact with decisive moves and clean hitting.

Gilchrist realised very early during the stint with Deccan Chargers the stabilising effect of domestic performers in IPL squad, batsman T. Suman and fast bowler Harmeet Singh for example, so will be excited at the prospect of working with a new bunch of Indians in 2011 and getting them tuned to his approach towards optimal performances in T20 format. Hard-hitting batsman Mandeep Singh, former India U-19 World Cupper, is one of young faces in squad blessed with natural talent which the captain can tap into.

Kings XI collection of players this season includes T20 specialists Dinesh Kartik, Abhishek Nayar and ODI performers Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla, so the Australian has plenty of material to mould into a winning unit. Praveen is eager and hungry to make an impact after missing WC 2011. He was a key player in Anil Kumble’s scheme of things for Royal Challengers Bangalore last year. Leg-spinner Chawla is an experienced hand in the 20-over format, adds value to the squad as an aggressive fielder and batsman.

Gilchrist will enjoy returning to Navi Mumbai’s D.Y. Patil stadium for the IPL4 opening game against Pune Warriors, he had scored a stunning century at the venue. The wicket has a reputation of helping strokemakers, so the hard-hitting Aussie will feel at home there. His counterpart Yuvraj also has the qualities to be a match-winner in the same conditions. The India all-rounder has taken on leadership role in the new franchise, each move will be under scrutiny due to expectations in the wake of World Cup showing.

Yuvraj has taken on a more challenging assignment by accepting captaincy of the Pune franchise, starting with Sunday’s late night game at the D.Y. Patil stadium. Match-winning knocks for India in WC 2011 need not necessarily translate into inspired captaincy. Leading a group of cricketers has more to do with man- management skills than technical acumen. The foreign pros are drafted in for specialities, the Indians need to feel at ease in the team setup to give off their best.

Pune Warriors performance on Sunday debut will depend on Yuvraj’s grasp of situation in the middle.

Leading by example is an important aspect, but is only a part of the role for a team leader. As Shane Warne does so effectively at Rajasthan Royals, the Indian all-rounder’s task is to create an atmosphere wherein players feed off each other’s energy and each individual is aware of his role in the overall team plan, drawn up in consultation with head coach Geoff Marsh at support staff.

Yuvraj has an awesome array of talent at his disposal, starting with opener Graeme Smith and inclusive of aggressive performers in Robin Uttappa, Manish Pandey, Jesse Ryder, Harpeet Singh, Nathan McCullum, Murali Kartik, Tim Paine to name a few. Getting them to jell together is an exciting opportunity and tough work at the same time for the Pune Warriors captain against his former IPL side.

T20 games are won and lost on a fleeting moment of inspiration on the field, the Indian all-rounder is adept at it. As far as captaincy is concerned, he can learn a lot from watching the Aussie at work.

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