Sunrisers Hyderabad will be a more formidable side with the return of the explosive Australian opener David Warner, who was serving a one-year ban following a ball-tampering controversy. And, the news could not be more soothing to the fans than the message from him — I am back everyone. Can’t wait for all of you to get behind us.
However, for a team whose fortunes invariably hinged on the brilliance of Warner with the bat and as a leader (he led the team to victory in the 2016 edition), it is not yet clear whether he will be named the captain to replace Kane Williamson. The Kiwi, with his phenomenal consistency and astute leadership, guided the team to the final last year, where it lost to Chennai Super Kings. Sri Lankan spin legend and SRH’s bowling coach Muthiah Muralitharan, during his recent visit to Hyderabad, termed Warner’s return as a major plus. “We have covered all key areas with quality players to be ready for any kind of challenge,” he said.
“There is so much of talent in our team that every one of them is capable of coming good with decisive performances. We have the winning combinations for any given conditions,” Murali said.
Flamboyant opener Shikhar Dhawan will be the most notable name missing in the line-up after being traded for the exciting young talent Abhishek Sharma. The team includes India all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who is high in confidence after his impressive outings for the national team recently, and left-am spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.
The decision of the think tank to go for the hard-hitting Jonny Bairstow of England and Martin Guptill of New Zealand might well pose selection headaches, especially for the openers’ slots given the fact that only four foreign players can make it to the playing XI.
The depth in batting and bowling can help Sunrisers reach the latter stages in the IPL. What makes the side a force to reckon with is the potent bowling attack comprising the wily death-overs specialist with the knuckle ball, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has recovered from an injury, the ever-trying Siddharth Kaul and the formidable spin duo of leggie Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. Then there is always the experience of left-arm spinning all-rounder Shakib Ali Hasan to bank on.
Sunrisers Hyderabad should be one of the strong contenders for the title and it all depends on the kind of momentum it gets early in the championship.
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