All Is Not Well in jaded Pune Warriors’ camp

The Pune Warriors’ camp wears a jaded look with discontent starting to show in the team, writes Hindustan Times. “When Pune Warriors returned to the hotel that’s been their home for nearly two months for a five-night stay last time around — on April 22 after surprising Delhi Daredevils in Delhi the previous night — they were greeted in the lobby like victorious warriors returning home, with the hotel staff and the fans treating them like heroes. Cut to Sunday, the day after the Warriors returned after losing the high-profile clash in Kolkata — their fifth successive loss — and the mood in the hotel had changed, with the staff doing their work and the fans disappearing from the lobby,” adds the paper.

“If the loss against KKR turned the mood sombre, the defeat against Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday left the Warriors looking to salvage a win or two from the last three matches to avoid finishing last on the points tally. It also left the team zone resembling a graveyard. And within the confines of their rooms, though some preferred to keep mum or engage themselves with their Playstations, others were busy back-biting their teammates. The sense that one got was that the six successive defeats had started taking a toll beyond the boundary,” adds the paper.

Meanwhile when Andy Bichel, the Chennai Super Kings bowling coach, interacted with the media ahead of Thursday’s match against Rajasthan Royals, he said, “We have not had a finisher in our team,” he said, explaining the defending champions’ failure to win close encounters.

According to a report in HT, in the previous editions, Raina had often carried CSK through with his blistering strokeplay. This time around, he has not even got a fifty. “The top two teams, Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders, have their captains, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, doing the job of finishing the games. Their CSK counterpart, MS Dhoni, is also known to finish off games, but he too doesn’t have a fifty this season,” adds the paper.

Bichel also admitted that the absence of Michael Hussey in the first half of the League has been a crucial factor for MS Dhoni’s team, says a report in Times Of India. “Last season, Hussey played a key role for us. But this time, we have got him a bit late. Look at what Shane Watson is doing for Rajasthan. They are professional players, and their inclusion does make a big difference. For Rajasthan, even Owais Shah and Brad Hodge have done their job. well. We missed Hussey, both on and off the field.”

Talking about Watson, Bichel said that they don’t have any special strategies to restrict him on Thursday when the two teams meet. “Shane has really played well in the last twelve months, and his presence is definitely a boost for Rajasthan. But there isn’t any set strategy. It’s up to the bowlers to execute the plans well and try to put things our way,” Bichel remarked.