Laxman hopes for better finishing acts

The Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor admits the team management wasn’t happy with the way the middle-order had performed in the last two seasons.

V. V. S. Laxman acknowledges all participating teams are “very good.”   -  K. V. S. Giri

Sunrisers Hyderabad will showcase its new-found depth in the middle-order in the Indian Premier League (IPL), according to mentor V. V. S. Laxman.

Speaking at the team’s promotional event here on Thursday, Laxman admitted the team management was not happy with the way the middle-order had performed in the last two seasons. “But, thanks to the auction, we have some of the best names like Yusuf Pathan [and] Manish Pandey, to name a few, who have the experience and the ability to raise the bar,” he said.

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The flaw may be ironed out with the choice of players, hoped Laxman. He said, “This time around, we ensured that we have [batsmen] who can do well in the middle-overs and finish off the games in the death overs.”

He added, “Essentially, we have retained the core group even while picking some of the gifted players this time around.”

All ‘very good teams’

Laxman, however, put all teams at par with each other, underlining the fickle nature of the game. He said, “It is obvious that all franchises have very good teams in the IPL. And it all boils down to one good innings or a couple of good overs in this format,” Laxman said.

“We will play to our strength to get the desired results and achieve our goal of winning the title. We have the liberty of picking from four to five combinations in any given situation to take the field which not many teams can boast of,” Laxman said, referring to the all-round talent available in the team.

Laxman hoped for an encouraging home support for its first two matches. He said, “Yes, we hope to get off to a winning start in the first two games at home. A ground (Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Uppal) which we know so well and hope the orange army band of supporters will be there in full strength to cheer us as wholeheartedly as they have been doing till now,” he said.

Spin advantage

The team has an advantage in the form of a potent spin attack, felt bowling coach Muttiah Muralitharan. He explained, “This time around, it is definite that we will be playing two spinners since Shakib-al-Hasan (of Bangladesh) will fit in the bill as an all-rounder. The best part is that Shakib can bowl well in both power-play and death overs while [leg-spinner] Rashid Khan has been a wicket-taking bowler for us last season. Maybe, we will switch roles between them as far as power-plays and death overs are concerned.”

Muralitharan was confident of the team’s ability to tacke “any challenge.” He said, “Well, whether the spinners should attack or prefer containment depends on the kind of totals we post and the playing conditions. But, I feel taking wickets is always important in any situation. No doubt, the pitch plays a big role and fortunately we are ready for any challenge.”