Founded in 2015, the Rising Pune Supergiants are a professional cricket franchise that is set to play in the Indian Premier League from 2016 through to 2018. The Rising Pune Supergiants are based in the city of Pune and are owned by Sanjiv Goenka. They entered the league as one of the replacements for the Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings, with the other replacement being the Gujarat Lions.
Both the Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings were founding members of the IPL, two of the 8 teams to play in the inaugural season in 2008. The Super Kings were actually one of the most successful teams in the league, and one that claimed two IPL titles and two Champions League titles, while the Royals won the very first IPL title in 2008.
However, both the Super Kings and the Royals were suspended for two years for their alleged involvement in a betting scandal. This scandal involved match-fixing and other major allegations, and the verdict to suspend these two teams was reached by the Supreme Court.
This created an opportunity for the Rising Pune Supergiants and for the Gujarat Lions, although that opportunity will be short-lived, lasting only for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, and serving to keep the numbers up in the Indian Premier League.
The Rising Pune Supergiants are coached by Stephen Fleming, a former New Zealand international who captained his side to many notable victories. They play at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, which is a 36,000 capacity stadium that was built in 2012. The Pune Warriors, a short-lived IPL franchise who recorded just 12 wins during their three seasons, were the first to play in this stadium when they contested a match against the Kings XI Punjab.
The owner of Rising Pune Supergiants is the chairman of a company that owns assets of close to $5 billion, paying the salaries of more than 50,000 people and earning several billion dollars every year. He is therefore perfectly placed to fund an IPL team, especially when you consider that he is already involved in the world of sport and entertainment.
Sanjiv Goenka owns the Indian Super League team Atletico de Kolkata, nicknamed the Bengal Tigers. This team was founded in 2014 and has featured a number of top international soccer players. The Rising Pune Supergiants are also likely to feature many top sport internationals and there are already some big name players on their books in preparation for their two year stint in the league.
If the success of the Tigers is anything to go by, then the Rising Pune Supergiants could be in for a big season, as Atletico de Kolkata claimed victory in their very first season in the Indian Super League, before making it to the semi-final the following season.
Kevin Pietersen, who has already had his fair share of experience in the Indian Premier League, has signed up to play for the Rising Pune Supergiants during the 2016 season. The England international’s experience will likely be a welcome inclusion in the Supergiants squad, as is the case with Faf du Plessis. One of their most expensive players is Ajinkya Rahane, a bowler who was actually born in the region, and one who previously played for the Indians, as well as the Royals.
The side will be captained by their most expensive signing, Mahendra Singh Dhono, an Indian national who led the Super Kings to glory many times and will hope to do the same thing for the Rising Pune Supergiants. Other big signings include Ishant Sharma, Murugan Ashwin and Mitchell Marsh.
One of the teams that the Rising Pune Supergiants replaced, the Chennai Super Kings, were once voted as the most valuable side in the Indian Premier league, with a brand value of more than $100 million. What’s more, in a list of the 150 most valuable teams in the world, the Chennai Super Kings was the highest placed IPL team, (just ahead of the Mumbai Indians) and one of the highest placed cricket teams. It is highly unlikely that the Rising Pune Supergiants will be able to replicate this success with only two years ahead of them, but with the wealth and support of one of India’s richest men behind them, the Supergiants may well have a lasting impact on the league.