Former champion Sunrisers Hyderabad sports a new look under a new leader in Aiden Markram. Not surprisingly the team would hope to reverse its fortunes after the dismal showing in the last edition, when it finished eighth.
That SRH decided to release New Zealand’s most successful batter, Kane Williamson — after his indifferent form last season — and West Indian Nicholas Pooran, gives a fair indication of the team management’s approach to the fresh season.
Markram is expected to lead from the front with the likes of the big-hitting Harry Brook of England (bought at a a whopping ₹13.25 crore), Glen Phillips, who has two T20I centuries to his name, the dangerous Heinrich Klaasen of South Africa, Mayank Agarwal, Anmolpreet Singh, Abdul Samad and left-arm spinning all-rounder Abhishek Sharma.
The expectations on the team that finished eighth in the 10-team table last season, will be high given the kind of changes the SRH management has made.
No doubt, the take on Williamson was a huge surprise. Team history will reveal that SRH did bank heavily on big-hitting openers like David Warner and Jonny Bairstow followed by Williamson at the top. So, it will be interesting to see how successful the new combinations will be. Reason enough for Markram to feel the pressure — from focus on his captaincy skills and from the burden of expectations.
The bowling should be in the safe hands of the trusted pace trio of the experienced swing merchant Bhuvneshwar Kumar, though his efficacy could be put to serious test this season, the fiery Umran Malik, who claimed 22 wickets last season, and the crafty T. Natarajan, who is capable of testing the best of batting line-ups on any given day. The presence of England’s leggie Adil Rashid this time around should lend a lot of variety and in a way compensate for the absence of one of SRH’s most successful bowlers and another leg-spinner Rashid Khan. With Washington Sundar joining hands, the two can be a formidable duo on any surface.
Legends on hand
The support staff has legends like Brian Lara, who will be assisted by Simon Helmot, spin bowling coach Muttiah Muralitharan, fast bowling coach Dale Steyn and fielding coach Hemang Badani. Illustrious names who knew the art of giving their best under pressure and whose expertise and vast knowledge should be of great help to the SRH players, especially the young talent.