With Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals having been dumped from the IPL owing to the alleged involvement of the owners and some players in corruption-related activities,
With Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals having been dumped from the IPL owing to the alleged involvement of the owners and some players in corruption-related activities, IPL 9 will have two new teams, one of them being Rising Pune Supergiants. Although a new entrant, the side will be seen as a strong contender for the title this year. Led by the inimitable MS Dhoni, who captained Chennai with unmatched success, Pune have really big names in their teams, some of whom can win you matches singlehandedly. Hence, there is no reason to believe that Dhoni can't repeat his Chennai success with Pune. If anything, he might take some time getting accustomed to a new franchise.
Star batsmen: It wouldn't be wrong to say that Pune have of the most explosive batting line-ups in IPL 9. Kevin Pietersen may not be wanted by England, but he definitely remains a big draw in the IPL. He has been purchased for Rs 3.5 crore, and Pune will be banking on him to fire. Among other star batsmen in the team is Aussie skipper Steven Smith, who just loves facing India fast bowlers, and he will get plenty of them in the IPL. South Africa's Faf du Plessis too is part of the squad. There is also Ajinkya Rahane, who is every dependable and can bat anywhere in the order. Not to forget, skipper Dhoni himself is among the best finishers in the game.
Star bowlers: With Pune investing so much in their batting, their bowling is expectedly on the weaker side. But, they do possess some decent talent. Ravichandran Ashwin did not end the World T20 on a high, so he will be looking forward to getting things back on track. Ishant Sharma is the other experienced Indian bowler in the side. It remains to be seen whether he can still make an impact. RP Singh, whose India career got over years ago, also makes the cut. Most others are inexperienced players. Australian spinner Adam Zampa, who was decent in the World T20, and pacer Scott Boland, who has played a few games for Australia, are also part of the squad.
All-round prowess: It is in this department that Pune will try to make up for their bowling weaknesses. They have a few talented all-rounders in their kitty. Albie Morkel, who is an IPL superstar, will play for Pune this time. There is also Aussie all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who can make a significant contribution. Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera can be particularly dangerous with the bat, and can also bowl decently. Last, but not the least, there is the forgotten man of Indian cricket, Irfan Pathan. If fit, he too can prove to be a handful.
This being the first season, one really doesn't know what to expect out of Pune. But, there is a more than decent chance of them going all the way, if they perform to potential