Pune Warriors' captaincy will be up for grabs when they take on Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk on Monday. This, as current Pune - Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews - is 'banned' in Tamil Nadu due to political reasons.
Mathews' absence will mean that 'seniors' Ross Taylor and Robin Uthappa are the frontrunners for the post of captain. Yuvraj Singh is also in the side and could have been the best choice, but coach Alan Donald had earlier said that the left-hander will not be burdened with the additional responsibility of leading the side despite the 31-year-old's experience of having captained the side previously.
Pune have won just one of four matches in the tournament so far and now face an uphill task against two-time IPL champions, Chennai. A win at Chepauk can be a big boost for the side which has languished in the bottom-half of the table in the previous two editions. In the context then, veteran Taylor may be the best bet for the side since he has the experience of having led the Kiwis till recently.
The flamboyant Kiwi - exchanged from Delhi Daredevils for Ashish NehraÂ - has had a below-par tournament so far with an average of 13.75 from four matches. Taylor's knowledge of tactics and strategies from having led in international cricket though can prove to be vital.
The other option in Uthappa is likely to be a bigger gamble since he has been aggressive at the top of the line-up but the role of leading the side can be detrimental to his batting - much like the thought process against Yuvraj for skipper.
The team though will miss Mathews for sure as the cricketer - apart from having led the side - has contributed with the bat (84 runs from 4 matches) as well as with the ball (a wicket and an economy of 7).
The talented Lankan all-rounder, however, will not take part since the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in the run-up to the IPL, wrote a letter to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to ensure that Sri Lankan players are kept out of the state. This due to alleged atrocities committed against Sri Lankan Tamils by the country's army.