Not many innings in a Twenty20 game last an hour-and-a-half. But some team meetings do. Sunday saw such an instance when the Pune Warriors’ team meeting on the morning of their first home game, against the Kings XI Punjab, lasted 90 minutes - five more than the stipulated duration for an Indian Premier League (IPL) innings.
Considering that the Warriors were coming into the game on the back of a surprise victory against the Mumbai Indians in their opening game, it came as a surprise to learn that the meeting on the morning of the game - which usually doesn’t last beyond 15 minutes — went on and on.
So what was it that held back players from quickly returning to their rooms? “Usually most of our meetings are short and to the point,” an insider said. “What took time on Sunday was the issue of finalising the four foreigners in the eleven.”
It seems that captain and team mentor Sourav Ganguly, who had had plenty of differences with overseas players and coaches during his tenure with the Kolkata Knight Riders, has learnt to handle them with care. Ganguly, along with bowling coach Alan Donald and batting coach Pravin Amre, had a long discussion with all the overseas players.
“If keeping a (Jesse) Ryder, or a (Wayne) Parnell or a (Alfonso) Thomas out of the eleven wasn’t problematic enough, Angelo (Mathews) also joined up ahead of the Kings XI match,” another team source said.
“So it had to be explained that there are no favours being granted and that the selection of the four overseas players will be done purely to maintain team balance.”
Ganguly had said finalising the foreign players — the upper limit for every game is four — is a headache for the captain. “Given a choice, I would field my best possible eleven. But it doesn’t work that way in IPL,” he had said on Friday. Some players were happy with the transparency but would have preferred to not spend a morning in a team meeting.