Pune Warriors India, licking their wounds in IPL 2013 after the Sunrisers Hyderabad mauling in an away match, can take comfort from Adam Gilchrist’s words. PWI ended up ninth out of nine teams last season and face off against Kings XI Punjab in the first game on home turf at the Subroto Roy Sahara stadium.
The Australian wicket-keeper/batsman believes in treating every rival with caution and respect, regardless of last season’s standing. “Any team can beat any one on any given day. We know that in Twenty20, we know it can happen in this particular competition (IPL). There are world-class players in every squad,” he said.
The Kings XI captain overcame a similar situation in 2008. That year his team, Deccan Chargers, had finished last and the Aussie led the way in 2009 as DC climbed out of the hole onto the victory podium.
“Every team feel Pune have the capability to get the best out of their players and perform at high levels,” said the Aussie.
Sri Lankan Angelo Matthews remains in charge for the home team in Sunday’s game, his side’s second tie in IPL6 after an away loss when things did not fall into place for a talented outfit.
KXIP appears a more settled combination in IPL6, with the Aussie duo of Gilchrist and coach Darren Lehman looking to replicate the DC chemistry with a far more experienced assembly of players.
“We were mid-table, just missed the semifinal last two years so hope to work in the areas needed. All-rounder Azhar Mahmood is a calm influence, especially for the local players.
“Praveen Kumar is growing into a similar role,” said Gilchrist when asked about the India swing bowler’s impact. “All players rate him highly. He is taking on great leadership role with younger players. He has the desire to share experience and skill.”
The Aussie has a high opinion of Praveen’s utility. “Praveen brings to the team the amazing skills he has. I rate him as the most skilful swing bowlers in the world. I am aware he got himself into hot water outside of IPL. We have no issues in our franchise.”
Shaun Marsh, the hard-hitting left-handed batsman, is a notable absentee, due to injury. David Miller and Luke Pomersbach are considered as adequate cover for the Aussie.
Indian talent in KXIP includes leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, all-rounder Rajgopal Sathish, batsman Mandeep Singh, swing bowler Parvinder Awana, apart from Praveen.
KXIP has faced stuttering starts before in IPL before, something which Gilchrist accepts as a problem to be overcome in tough conditions, away from home.