New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) Into their sixth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) look a formidable unit after the 2018 IPL auction, despite having lost their banned skipper David Warner due to a ball tampering scandal.
Warner, who admitted to pre-meditated ball tampering in the Cape Town Test against South Africa, was handed a 12-month ban by Cricket Australia and subsequently, the BCCI barred him from participating in the upcoming edition of the IPL, starting April 7.
The absence of Warner, the highest run-getter in the 2017 edition, has no doubt come as a setback for the 2016 IPL champions and the onus is now on New Zealander Kane Williamson to steer the side to their second title.
Despite warming the bench for a major part of the last edition, Williamson, with his experience of leading his national side, will need to instil the confidence in the side in the company of former skipper and opener Shikhar Dhawan, who also will be expected to shoulder more responsibility at the top of the order.
Among the two names to be retained by the Sunrisers before the auction along with Warner, is rightfully paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the top wicket-taker in both the 2016 and 2017 editions. Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan too is expected to tweak some magic again.
English power-hitter Alex Hales, who was named as Warner’s replacement will be valuable at the top of the order with Dhawan while the inclusion of wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey, will bolster the middle order.
Saha, who recently scored a century off 20 balls in club cricket, has the potential to turn around matches in a matter of few deliveries, while the lower order comprising all-rounders Yusuf Pathan, Carlos Brathwaite and Shakib Al Hasan can be handy options with the bat.
The support staff consisting Tom Moody, V.V.S.Laxman, Muttiah Muralitharan also adds to their strength.
Squad: Kane Williamson (Captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Rashid Khan Arman, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Sandeep Sharma, Shakib Al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi Eisakhil, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Billy Stanlake, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Shreevats Goswami, Basil Thampi, T. Natarajan, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Ricky Bhui, Sachin Baby, Tanmay Agarwal.
(Tridib Baparnash can be contacted at [email protected])