As a consequence of their poor outings had in the last two seasons, when they finished last and eighth, the franchise has gone for a total overhaul of personnel.
In the 2023 auction, SRH spent Rs 35.7 crore to assemble an outfit that, barring Bhuvneshwar Kumar, bears little resemblance to the team that won the title in 2016.
They have released Kane Williamson, who took them to the final in 2018, to bolster a middle order that has struggled for momentum in the last few years. The Sunrisers have roped in Mayank Agarwal, an impact player with proven credentials. With an IPL strike rate of 142. 41 in the last three years, SRH are banking on Agarwal’s ability to force the pace in the middle overs too.
All the boardroom talk, strategy, fun and bonding will be on test when the Sunrisers begin their campaign against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.
Rajasthan Royals face Sunrisers Hyderabad in campaign opener
The teams are level with eight wins apiece from 16 matches, but it is hard to forget Shane Warne’s pyrotechnics with 17 required off Andrew Symonds’ last over (for Deccan Chargers then) in 2008.
Sunrisers are back at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium after three years with Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the stand-in captain.
They will miss the South Africans in the squad, skipper Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and Marco Jansen, for the opening fixture as they are on national duty.
Rajasthan have two former SRH players – Jason Holder and Trent Boult – a potent bowling attack and explosive batsmen in Jos Buttler, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer, Joe Root and Riyan Parag.