Debutants Pune Devils ready to make a splash

The Pune Devils are set to become the newest team to take part in The Abu Dhabi T10 when they take on the Deccan Gladiators in their first-ever match of the 10-over tournament.

The owners Krishan Kumar Choudhary and Parag Sanghvi have built a solid squad at the 2020 ADT10 draft, which, at first glance, appears thin on the batting front, but boasts a lethal pace battery, led by Mohammad Amir, that can even the scale.

The squad features a few proven names in the batting line-up such as Caribbean star Chadwick Walton and Englishman Tom Kohler-Cadmore, but also a few unheralded ones.

Let’s glance through the most striking features of the Pune Devils and see what they bring to the table in their debut campaign in The Abu Dhabi T10.

A potent pace battery

The Pune Devils are likely to rely on the speedsters of the team to keep them in contention. Their pace battery includes Mohammad Amir, South Africa’s Hardus Viljoen, and Karan KC from Nepal.

Mohammad Amir is not new to the T10 format as he played the first edition of the tournament in 2017 but couldn’t make an impression. However, the Pakistan fast-bowler has had a great run of late in the Lanka Premier League, where he even picked up a five-wicket haul.

He will be joined by T10 veteran Hardus Viljoen, who was a central figure in Northern Warriors’ title-winning campaign of 2018. He picked up a wicket in every match and a total of 18 wickets in the season – a record that still stands.

Pune Devils’ pace battery will be completed by Karan KC, who has been spearheading Nepal’s speed attack for quite some time.

An abundance of young blood

The Pune Devils have a number of youngsters in their ranks that have exhibited a lot of promise in their short careers and have the talent to give the opposition a run for their money.

Emerging 18-year-old UAE wicketkeeper-batsman Vriitya Aravind was drafted into the squad, along with Afghan batter Darwish Rasooli, with the former already proving to be a handful for the bowlers in the domestic circuit of the UAE. Yorkshire’s 19-year-old leg-spinner Sam Wisniewski will also be joining the new team.

These young guns will provide the Pune Devils with the spark and energy, two very important qualities needed in the fast-paced T10 format of the tournament.

Coach Jonty Rhodes

Pune Devils have handed the coaching reins to former South Africa cricketer Jonty Rhodes. The former Proteas international has played 245 ODIs and 52 Tests and has had coaching stints in South Africa, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka. Most recently, he served as a fielding coach for the Kings XI Punjab in the 2020 Indian Premier League, which was held in the UAE, including at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Jonty Rhodes can help the players understand the conditions and demands of the UAE pitches through his recent experience in IPL 2020.

The 50-year-old currently coaches the Swedish cricket team, which is also filled with youngsters like the Pune Devils squad.

The blend of youngsters and a few big names will be the way to go for the Pune Devils but they might have to dig deep into their resources to come out on top since they are drawn with Deccan Gladiators, Team Abu Dhabi, and Qalandar, three very strong teams of Group B.

Pune Devils squad for The Abu Dhabi T10

Mohammad Amir, Hardus Viljoen, Chadwick Walton, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Devon Thomas, Darwish Rasooli, Nasir Hossain, Kennar Lewis, Asif Lewis, Mohammad Boota, Sam Wisniewski, Vriitya Aravind, Karan KC, Munis Ansari

Pune Devils fixtures and schedule for The Abu Dhabi T10

28 January, Thursday: Pune Devils vs Deccan Gladiators

29 January, Saturday: Pune Devils vs Qalandars

31 January, Sunday: Team Abu Dhabi vs Pune Devils