The Pune made their IPL debut in the 2011 edition. Owned by the head of the Sahara India Group, Subrata Roy, Pune was captained by dashing Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh in its maiden season. Despite the presence of star players like Sourav Ganguly, Robin Uthappa and some noteworthy foreign cricketers like Graeme Smith, Angelo Mathews, etc. the team had a miserable time in the competition, failing to garner any attention.
In 2012, the captaincy changed hands and was passed on to senior batsman Sourav Ganguly in the absence of Yuvraj. As Sahara opted to stay out of the bidding process, no players were bought at the auction. However, Michael Clarke was later added to the Pune squad ahead of the fifth season. But their misery continued going into the second year, as they finished at the bottom of the table and could not make any sort of an impact in the entire tournament.