IPL 2023 Mini Auction: Mayank Agarwal has leadership qualities, so have other players in SRH, says coach Brian Lara

Sunrisers Hyderabad head coach Brian Lara on Friday was non-committal on opener Mayank Agarwal being appointed as captain of the side after the 2016 IPL champions roped in the former Punjab Kings skipper during IPL 2023 mini player auction.

Agarwal’s promotion to leadership in IPL 2022 didn’t lead to a truckload of runs with the bat as he scored just 196 runs in 13 matches at an average of 16.33, as Punjab ended the season at sixth place in the ten-team points table. In November, Agarwal was released by the side after Shikhar Dhawan was announced as new Punjab Kings captain.

“I think that’s unfair to say. We have got a couple of senior players around the squad already. Personally, I think he has leadership qualities, but so do have other players in the squad. That is a decision we haven’t taken as yet and with the auction not being over, we are not sure yet of the remaining players we will have,” said Lara in a press conference during the first break in the auction happening in Kochi.

Hyderabad also made a huge buy in young England batter Harry Brook, who made his T20I debut against West Indies earlier this year. In 17 innings, he has averaged 26.57 at a strike rate of 137.77 and was a part of England’s T20 World Cup winning team in Australia.

Recently, he was named Player of the Series in England’s 3-0 Test series triumph in Pakistan for scoring three centuries on tour.

“First of all, he is in a very confident unit playing Test cricket and T20 World Cup for England. He’s growing as a player and has experience of playing in the Asian conditions, the PSL and he’s excelled there. I know it’s his first IPL, but I believe he’s got the goods,” added Lara.

Lara also indicated Hyderabad will make specialist picks in the auction due to impact player rule.

“Also, with the impact player rule, it allows us to look at specialists instead of an all-rounder as due to that, we can replace batter with bowler and bowler with batter. That gives us flexibility in picking specialists for each spot,” he said.

Defending champions Gujarat Titans made some smart purchases in New Zealand white-ball skipper Kane Williamson (INR 2 crores), West Indies all-rounder Odean smith (INR 50 lakhs) , uncapped India duo of wicketkeeper-batter K.S Bharat (INR 1.2 crores) and pacer Shivam Mavi (INR 6 crores).

Anil Kumble, the former Punjab Kings head coach who is an auction coverage expert with JioCinema, feels the Hardik Pandya-led side have done well in the auction till now.

“Gujarat Titans have done well — Odean Smith for 50 lakhs, Kane Williamson at the base price of 2 cr, Bharat at 1.2 cr and Mavi as well.

I have heard some good words coming from Rahul Dravid on someone like Bharat and it’s really nice that someone like him has had the opportunity. We spoke about getting a wicket-keeper batter, not as a replacement but as a backup for Wriddhiman Saha and Mathew Wade and I think Bharat fits that bill and it’s wonderful to see him be part of Gujarat Titans,” said Kumble.

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