The Sunrisers Hyderabad had just 3 slots (1 overseas, 2 Indians) to fill going into the auctions for the upcoming edition of the IPL. Being mere spectators for most part of the auctions, SRH made three decent buys – Mujeeb ur Rahman, Kedar Jadhav and J Suchith. With just 3 added players, SRH hold an almost identical look as compared to last season. The only side which has qualified for the playoffs every season since 2015, SRH go into the tournament with a settled side.
Here we look at how the squad shapes up for the upcoming season:
David Warner (c), Kane Williamson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Sreevats Goswami (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Virat Singh, Mitchell Marsh, Jason Holder, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T. Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddarth Kaul, Basil Thampi, Jagadeesha Suchith, Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman
Strengths and Weaknesses:
SRH have one of the strongest overseas contingent this season. Unlike most other teams, the Sunrisers team revolves around its overseas core; Warner, Williamson and Bairstow among the batsmen, Mitch Marsh and Jason Holder as all-rounders, Mujeeb and Rashid as spinners. All of them are proven T20 stalwarts and are match-winners on their day.
The batting holds a decent look. With Warner, Williamson and Holder/Marsh batting at different positions in the line-up, the power distribution seems more even, and not top-heavy. Saha and Pandey with their experience prove to be reliable options and Garg and Samad showed their potential last season. Samad and Holder will be relied upon for providing the firepower in the death overs while Pandey and Williamson will be tasked with the role of being the accumulators in the middle overs and taking up the responsibility to close the games. Bairstow, Marsh and Shankar can also be utilised based on requirements. Moreover, if needed they can also rely upon the experience of Kedar Jadhav in the lower middle order.
SRH have a decent set of all-rounders in Marsh, Holder, Shankar, Samad and Abhishek Sharma. A minimum of 2 out of the 5 options are sure to walk into the XI and improve the balance of the team. Though Sharma and Samad are still relatively inexperienced, they have shown in the past that with exposure, they can surely improve a lot.
The pace bowling is entirely dependent on the Indian contingent – Bhuvneshwar, Khaleel, Kaul, Sandeep, Natarajan and Thampi. Natarajan’s improvement gives the bowling attack a formidable look and if Bhuvi stays fit, SRH will be tough to get away against in the death overs. Holder brings in the pace and bounce that is otherwise missing among the set of bowlers and adds more variety to the attack. However, with Stanlake released, they lack genuine pace and that is one of the loopholes in an otherwise strong pace attack.
The spin department looks even better with Mujeeb and Suchith coming in. the Afghan duo of Rashid and Mujeeb are two of the toughest contenders to face in limited overs cricket and getting both of them together is a terrific move by the SRH management. Nadeem, Abhishek and Suchith provide the options as left-arm orthodox spinners while Afghan all-rounder Nabi is the lone off-spinner in the squad. Overall, the spin attack contains variety, skill as well as experience to excel in the upcoming season.
The squad looks well-balanced with almost all bases covered. Though there are not many visible weaknesses on paper, the fact that the SRH are still largely dependent on their overseas players is something which is not a very good sign. In case of injuries or unavailability or even lack of form of some of them, the Warner-led side might be in big trouble. The experienced Indian players like Pandey, Saha and Bhuvi need to step up. Also, a large number of players in the squad including the likes of Bhuvi and Marsh are injury-prone and the management must make sure they stay fit throughout the season and manage the workload accordingly.
Probable first choice playing XI: David Warner, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg/ Vijay Shankar, Jason Holder, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem/ Sandeep Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan