The IPL 6 Sahara Pune Warriors team it can be said, till the arrival of H.H Steve Smith and his reverse flicks and the bumper hitting of Aaron Finch, was quite pathetic to watch. It was torture to see the disgraceful performance of the clowns representing the city we hold so dear to our hearts for all its seasons. Actually this is where the problem starts. There are no local players in the PWI team. Hence, the players who represent the Sahara Pune Warriors can only be called as mercenaries doing it without knowing what representing Pune actually means for us fans, and thus we end up not supporting the team as strongly as we can. Pune F.C the football club is one of the most fiercely supported clubs in the I-league with songs and all and we fans support it fiercely. On the contrary, Sahara Pune Warriors, the most expensive team playing a much more glamorous sport is not at all that well received.
Saharashri may have won the heart and support of Puneities with this IPL adventure having the costliest team and some superstars, but he has failed to touch the heart of Punekars- the true inhabitants and the people who actually represent Pune. Several reasons may be given why this has happened. However, here are a few:
1) There is a total disconnect between the players and the city. Not having known the history and importance of Pune and the rivalry it has with other cities such as Mumbai and Delhi, these players don’t feel privileged to represent the city. The only thing they are playing for, it can be concluded is money. The talk, in typical PuLa style, that goes around is “Ata Deccan Gymkhanyawaril aplya prashta banglyat rahatana xyz kheladula kiti dhanyata vatat asel” which infact will have the underlying meaning “Cricket khelnyachya navavar paisa kasa odhla bagha!”
2) The fact that Saharashri and the team management decided to sign Ashish Nehra for the 1st two seasons told the punekars of the lowly ambitions of the team. We Punekars believe that Nehra, if he plays “Akhil Shanipar half pitch gulley cricket competition” will still get whacked for 37 runs in 6 balls, forget a proper cricket match.
3) The continuous selection of non-performing millionaires who according to many Punekars are people who “very rarely play fast and good and should in fact jump off from Lakdi Pul into the Mutha River to drown in 2 feet of water”
4) Players apart, the team, we Punekars feel represents only a handful of Puneities staying in Pune. This can be reflected from the kind of cheap Hindi songs you get to hear especially given there are so many Dhasu Marathi songs on which one can tap their feet. We have a solution, which will be discussed in Solutions section.
5) There is a total lack of quintessential Puneri celebrities, musicians, famous people, controversial people, assal Punekars-such as myself, are nowhere to be seen amongst the people who come to support the team…
6) We Punekars feel that despite being a team from the city that hails itself as the “Cultural capital of Mahrashtra” the team hardly reflect any values or customs which are associated with Maharashtra or the culture of the city itself.
Till now, only out of curiosity we have been going to matches, but never do we get that much involved as would like to. So, we are making a request to Saharashri to consider making changes which reflect the city so that we can support the team wholeheartedly.
The Punekar raised a few solutions http://thepunekar.com/2013/04/17/what-pune-warriors-need/, we suggest some more solutions to Saharashri:
1) Get players such as Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Zol in the team. We have a connection with them. Also get Ajit Agarkar. We have special affinity towards the great man. Plus, he is a Marathi Manoos, and thus, Pune will be able to identify easily with him. (He had won a man of the match at Pune and had given his presentation speech in Marathi- something which we love him for)
2) Chitale Bandhu, Pu.Na.Gadgil, and a few other brands such as Ramesh Dyeing, Sujata Mastani, Durga Cold, Joshi Vadevale, etc. are brand names in Pune. For us these are bigger brands than Nike, Adidas, and TVS, Sansui, Linc Pens etc. All these brands should promptly be given sufficient space on the team kit to display their logos at no cost. In fact, the team should pay them money and try to sell merchandise at these shops which are located in the heart of the city.
3) There should be an official slogan for the team which reads: “Pune Warriors- Amchi Shakha Kuthehi Nahi/No Branch elsewhere” to promote the uniqueness of being from Pune.
4) Hire the Pune Kulkarni Katta as brand ambassadors for the club: Sonali Kulkarni, Atul Kulkarni, Girish Kulkarni, Umesh Kulkarni, Sonalee Kulkarni, Mrinal Kulkarni, Salil Kulkarni, Amruta Subhash, Sandeep Kulkarni, Abhishek Kulkarni are all famous Puneri Celebrities and should be made brand ambassadors for the club. Also hire Dhawal Kulkarni as he is a good player who never plays for Mumbai Indians.
5) Also get in other non Kulkarni celebrities such as Amruta Khanvilkar, Sandeep Khare, Swapnil Joshi, Mukta Barve, Priya Bapat, Make apsaras such as Sonalee Kulkarni( Apsara), Sai Tamhankar, Priya Bapat, Amruta Khanvilkar as eye catching celebrity faces. If that doesn’t help, get Poonam Pandey to inspire players, although Im sure that wont be needed.
6) Place huge flexes all over the stadium which display typical Puneri Patya written in English, Hindi and Marathi. If you need any help, we people at Sadashiv Pethi Hukumshahi will gladly assist you. One paati we give you for free here. You can put up a big flex saying “Opposition players who hit sixes here will have their bats confiscated if they hit one- it has been made very clear to you.” “Itar team chya kheladunni yethe shatkar marlyaas bat japta keli jaieel yachi spashta nond ghyavi.” “anya team ke khiladiyonne agar idhar chhakka marne ki koshish ki, to bate japt kee jayegi ye dhyaan me rakhe”
7) Instead of having a countdown which goes from 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-Oh-Yes-Abhi, make it 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-Vajwa Re!!
8) Just for culturally representing the city, all staff and all players who aren’t on the field and are sitting in the dugout will have to wear a pachachi (temporary) bhikbaali. If players want, they can get ears pierced at Pu.Na Gadgil in exchange for sponsorship.
This is called a Bhikbaali, worn in the right ear.
9) Instead of giving metallic trophy handouts as man of the match awards- the man of the match should instead be presented with a Puneri Pagadi, haar, Shreephal(Coconut) and Mahavastra(Shawl) in true Puneri Style. The man of the match, if he fails to draw laughter from crowd before his 3rd sentence shall forego his right on the award as he has committed a foul on Puneri Public Speaking Forum. This will make the press conferences, man of the match ceremonies all the more enjoyable.
Typical Puneri Pagdi and Mahavastra- to be given to Man of the Match Winner.
10) Instead of playing Hindi Songs, I sincerely urge Saharashri to hire from among the many Dhol-Tasha Pathaks of Pune, a few Pathaks to play live Dhol during the matches. If that dhol echoes in the stadium, PWI will never lose any of their home matches.
All these points will make the team more Pune than it is now, and it definitely needs to be more Pune oriented. I hope the Saharashri reads them and addresses them.
A frustrated Pune Warriors Fan.