While it may be seen as a huge loss for Sunrisers Hyderabad who will enter the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 without their talismanic captain David Warner, Coach Tom Moody believes the team has enough depth to ensure Warner’s absence is not felt in the dugout. The banned Australian former vice-captain was adjudged guilty of mind mastering the controversial ball tampering incident against South Africa on day 3 of their third Test match against South Africa in Cape Town. He was handed a one year ban by Cricket Australia (CA) following the Sandpaper Gate which rocked Australia and was hence banned by the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) from taking part in the IPL 2018.
Sunrisers Hyderabad appointed New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson as their replacement for banned Warner and coach Moody believes his absence will have ”little impact” on the team as the Hyderabad outfit has a well balanced and enough experience to replace Warner. “Very little, to be honest with you,” Moody told reporters when asked about the impact of a change in captaincy in a short notice on the team, as quoted by PTI. “We have a very well balanced squad where we have a number of different people that can fill different roles within the team. We are replacing a good captain in David Warner, who was vice-captain of the Australian team, with another international captain (Kane Williamson),” said Moody.
Talking about Kane Williamson who despite having a decent batting record in the IPL was never considered one of those impact players for the Sunrisers, Moody asserted that he was confident about Williamson’s leadership skills and his exploits with New Zealand. “We are delighted to have Kane step in as captain this year. We have all seen what he is capable of doing with his leadership with New Zealand,” he said. Adding that, “Williamson is strategically very sound and played an important role in Sunrisers Hyderabad over the last few years.”
Sunrisers Hyderabad unlike previous editions where they focused more on roping in lethal bowlers shifted to strengthening their batting prowess. With the likes of Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Alex Hales (Warner’s replacement) and Shakib Al Hasan in their ranks, SRH ensured their batting concerns were addressed overwhelmingly. They also have some pinch hitters who can prove effective down the order in Deepak Hooda and Carlos Braithwaite.
“You talked about this four, five top class batsman. But, there is a lot of depth in the batting line up and that’s something which was a conscious effort going into the auction. Because, over the last two, three years, we were not really happy that our middle order that they did not play to the expectations that is something which we consciously focused on, targeting players who can do well as a batsmen, said SRH mentor VVS Laxman talking about the team’s impressive batting line-up. “The team this year has got players who can do well in the middle overs and players who can finish games,” he added.
Meanwhile, on the bowling front, SRH have a pace unit consisting the right mix of Indian and overseas talent. Veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the attack supported by Basil Thampi, Siddharth Kaul, Carlos Brathwaite and Sandeep Sharma. The spin pack also looks exciting with Afghanistan ace Rashid Khan pairing up with Shakib and Mehdi Hasan.