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A young Sri Lankan, a young all rounder, a young captain of his Country’s Test and ODI national side; and now a captain for his IPL franchise. With so many roles vested upon a 25-year-old in such a short span of time, one wonders if Angelo Matthews’ shoulders are made of steel.
The moment an injured Michael Clarke was ruled out of the IPL this season for the Pune Warriors owing to a back injury, the mantle of captaincy was passed on to Angelo Mathews who will be captaining an IPL side for the first time in his four year IPL career.
Leading Sri Lanka and now leading the Pune Warriors in the IPL, one had to ask how he coped with so much of responsibility in such a short while.
“As a player you’ve got to adapt to the challenges that come your way. As a professional cricketer, you will face a lot of challenges in a different way throughout your cricketing career. You need to try and adapt to those challenges as quickly as possible.” replied a confident Mathews.
A big assignment for Mathews on the personal front, who looked positive of his team’s future ahead of their first match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. “I am extremely excited to be the captain of the Pune Warriors India. We have got a young and promising team on our hands and we as a unit are looking forward to win the first game.”
Pune finished with the wooden spoon last year, and their best result in the two editions they have been a part of; has been a second last position in 2011. The Pune Warriors captain looked to focus on the present rather than dwelling on the past results.
“It is going to be a fresh start, past it past and you’ve got to look forward to the future and I believe we have a great team and we will try to be at our best and be in the competition. We have to take it one step at a time and try and focus on our games and the way we play,” explained Mathews.
“It’s all about momentum in this format. We started off brilliantly in the last two editions, but unfortunately we couldn’t keep that momentum going. We will have to look at taking each game as it comes and try and be focused on the results of those games.”
The Pune Warriors camp was seen doing their regular drills at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday. The batsmen got their regular throw downs, the likes of Steve Smith and Marlon Samuels honed their fielding skills even as the rest of the team looked in good stead.
Mathews was happy he had a fit side at his disposal and a quality one at that. “We have got a whole heap of international players as well as the domestic players. So we are in a position were we can pick our best eleven. Yuvraj Singh is completely fit and he is going to be a major part of our squad in tomorrow’s game”.
Match 3 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will be a milestone moment for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. For, it will be their first-ever match in the world’s most competitive T20 league. The Hyderabad franchise, formerly Deccan Chargers, have been rechristened as the Sunrisers Hyderabad since being bought over by the Sun Group.
They will take on Pune Warriors India who have had had two disappointing seasons since joining the league in 2011. The team has had to reorganize its leadership plans after Michael Clarke’s last minute withdrawal due to injury; they have handed the reins of the team to the Sri Lankan captain Angleo Mathews, A player keen to establish himself as leader, as well as help the team improve on their last-place finish in the previous season.
Friday, April 5, 2013, 8 p.m Where
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
The hosts will expect significant contributions from their two most experienced players – Kumar Sangakkara with the bat and Dale Steyn with the ball. Sangakkara has been in prolific form with the bat in recent times, scoring three centuries and two half-centuries in six innings of international cricket in the last month. He will be keen to carry that form into the competition and lead from the front.
Steyn, the world’s top-ranked bowler in Test cricket, is a very difficult customer to score runs off. But apart from keeping the pressure on the batsmen, he will also want to pick up wickets by the heaps - given the lack of fire-power in the bowling line-up.
Pune Warriors India will be happy to have Yuvraj Singh back in their line-up. The dashing all-rounder missed the previous season of the IPL after he was diagnosed with a non-malignant cancer and had to undergo treatment just prior to the IPL. The 31-year old is back doing what he does best – playing cricket. Pune fans, will be hoping Yuvraj (relieved of the burdens of captaincy) can work his magic with both and ball and help the team put up a better showing than they have so far.
The original mystery spinner - Ajantha Mendis – would have watched Kolkata Knight Riders’ Sunil Narine spin a web in the opening match and will be keen to show he still has several tricks up his sleeve.
This is the first time these two teams will be meeting in the IPL. In their avatar as Deccan Chargers, the Hyderabad franchise had defeated Pune Warriors India in each of their three most recent meetings. Pune Warriors India’s only victory over the Deccan Chargers was in the very first meeting between the two teams – at Hyderabad in May 2011.
Kumar Sangakkara will be very keen to improve on his captaincy record in the IPL; he’s only managed to lead his team to victory in 12 of the 38 matches he’s been captain, losing 26 others.
Ross Taylor will be playing in a fourth IPL team in six seasons. The New Zealander was signed up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for the first three seasons, before he was signed up by the Rajasthan Royals in 2011. The following season, he was roped in by the Delhi Daredevils. He will be turning out for Pune Warriors India this season.
Both teams will hit the field next on April 7. While the Pune Warriors India will fly back home to host Kings XI Punjab in an early Evening game, the Sunrisers Hyderabad will play host to their neighbours Royal Challengers Bangalore in an the mid-evening game.