IPL 2018: Focus on new captains as SRH, RR kickstart campaign

On Kane Williamson taking over the reins of the side, Sunrisers head-coach Tom Moody stressed on how eminently suitable the Kiwi skipper was to his new role.

Taking Charge: With David Warner gone, Kane Williamson will lead Hyderabad in the 11th edition of the IPL.   -  RAJEEV BHATT

“The transition has been easy,” was a recurring theme in Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody’s Sunday evening media interaction.

On Kane Williamson taking over the reins of the side, he stressed on how eminently suitable the Kiwi skipper was to his new role.

“The team’s core knows Kane (Williamson) well and he’s a welcoming sort of person. He enjoys huge respect as an international player and captain. He has always been a critical part of the leadership group and top order,” he noted.

READ: SRH vs RR Star Wars: Kane Williamson vs Ajinkya Rahane

“No one is expected to replace Warner. In sport, we must be prepared for the unexpected,” he said alluding to the absence of Warner and Steve Smith.

“I want Shikhar (Dhawan) to play like Shikhar. Players must express themselves and it will be different dynamics in the top six this time,” he predicted.

 

Bhuvi globally recognised now

Heaping praise on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Moody said, “Bhuvi’s growth over the past three to four years has been extraordinary. As a leading new ball and death bowler, he’s been globally recognised. He can be a genuine wicket taker upfront and can shut the game down too.”

“Billy Stanlake is a great acquisition,” the strapping mentor said. “He’s 6’ 8” and can bowl up to 150 kmph. He releases the ball from a very high point to get a steep bounce. At 23, he’s only getting better.”

“It’s nice to play the first game at home without being on the road. We have prepared well, playing practice games over the week at this venue and we’re ready to go.

“The wicket’s always good in Hyderabad. Even heavy rains haven’t affected practice. The weather will look after us,” Moody hoped.

How the two teams have fared against each other.

 

Backing our strength

Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane, low profile as always, hoped to get Rajasthan off to a winning start. “While Sunrisers are always a challenge, we hope to play our game, back our strengths and strategies,” he said.

Jos Buttler found keeping wickets in T20 fast-paced against the other two formats. Underplaying his role, he said, “Not many chances come your way and we don’t affect the game too much. The wicket-keeper must assist the captain so that he can focus on other areas,” he said, considering the wicket-keeper’s vantage position to assess game situations.

Expressing delight at having Shane Warne as the coach, Butler said, "From watching him in the 2005 Ashes, coming face to face with one of cricket’s best brains was amazing. It has already had a huge impact."