A new beginning

The financial travails of the erstwhile owners of the Hyderabad franchise inflicted a premature closure upon the Deccan Chargers. Yet Hyderabad managed to have its own team as in the auction to buy the franchise, the media behemoth Sun Group emerged trumps. The Sun Group renamed the team as Sunrisers Hyderabad and roped in Tom Moody as coach and also made V. V. S. Laxman, a key part of the team-management’s hierarchy while Kumar Sangakkara will lead the squad.

The outfit has an unenviable task of serving as a bridge with the memories associated with its predecessor — Chargers — while at the same time charting a unique path of success that is intrinsic to the Sun Group’s business endeavours so far.

The team may have a fresh nomenclature but it will still be judged in comparison with the Chargers and so the earlier bunch’s trophy-winning adventures in South Africa during 2009, will be raked up often while Sangakkara’s men chase glory this summer.

And as a brand new team rises from the ashes of its earlier avatar, Sangakkara’s return from injury and his glut of runs against a hapless Bangladesh team, will lend a positive air to the squad. Starting with himself, Sangakkara has some high-impact players in his ranks like Dale Steyn, the most menacing fast bowler in the world at the moment.

The Sri Lankan though would miss Shikhar Dhawan, who is nursing an injury and might play a part only in the later stages of the tournament. Dhawan had led the run-charts (569) for Chargers last year and his absence would be felt. Also in the blend are Darren Sammy, who led the West Indies to a title triumph in the ICC World Twenty20 at Colombo last year, Ishant Sharma and Jean Paul-Duminy while Cameron White gets another chance to prove his credentials in the game’s shortest version.

Sangakkara would also do well to chase consistency rather than focus on individuals because during the league’s inaugural year, men like Herschelle Gibbs, Shahid Afridi and Andrew Symonds failed to fire together for the Chargers. Sunrisers does have another niggling challenge to tackle immediately. With emotions swirling high in Chennai about Sri Lankan Tamils and the whispered opposition to Sri Lankan players, it remains to be seen how Sangakkara and Sunrisers (a group that has its core roots in Tamil Nadu) cope with the stalemate.

The team just cannot afford to rest its captain in a key game against the Chennai Super Kings but for now, Sangakkara would rather focus on having a perfect start with his men.

K. C. Vijaya Kumar