An attitude to ‘express’ oneself on the cricket field to maximise the impact of its players is what the management of the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) has wanted to encourage. The message is relayed by team mentor V. V. S. Laxman, who told his players to “Go express yourself. Play without any insecurity.”
Welcoming the gathering at the ITC Kakatiya , the slack-wristed stylist expressed confidence about his squad's fortunes, going by the quality of its players, retention of the excellent ones and roping in of young Indian talent.
Inspiration was a common thread through most of the afternoon's agenda, as he said there were good leaders in the side such as Kane Williamson and Eoin Morgan who had proved themselves in the recent ICC T20 World Cup and former captain Shikhar Dhawan, who would help the youngsters blossom. Playing to potential, of which there was plenty, would help achieve goals, he said.
Asked whether the side had enough fire in its belly, skipper David Warner said there was a lot of talent and experience in the team. “There will be no excuses this year,” the attacking Australian batsman said. “There is great balance and picking the playing eleven will be tough for the selectors,” he said. With some help from the master of ceremonies and as if underscore the side's resolve to win, he even spelt out that stance in Hyderabadi lingo!
After the lights were dimmed, the new jersey bearing Yuvraj Singh's name and chest number was unveiled. The old guard then welcomed the newcomers with a presentation of jerseys; Shikhar Dhawan to Ashish Nehra, Kane Williamson to Ben Cutting, Eoin Morgan to Deepak Hooda and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to Mustafizur Rehman.
Quizzed about the role of spin, SRH bowling coach Muthiah Muralitharan said wickets in the subcontinent took spin. With too many matches played and wickets overused, it was disappointing to see how they behaved during the recent World Cup.
“The Hyderabad wicket will be good and offer even chances to batsmen and bowlers. Since we have enough allrounders, there will be good entertainment. I hope there are good wickets during the IPL because the game is more important than teams,” he emphasised.
Asked how he'd aid Ben Stokes' recovery after the World Cup final's heartbreak, SRH coach Tom Moody said, “Stokes is a strong character. We can't go far without strong characters. I am relying on Sunrisers' collective character,” the strapping Aussie reiterated.
Whether it was too long a grind with the IPL coming almost back to back with the World Cup, Moody said he was mindful of the close crossover between the two tournaments. “Players have time to freshen up and as passionate cricketers, they are looking forward to being onstage again,” he concluded.
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