The Indian Premier League auction on December 19 will see teams bidding for more than 300 players to fill up 73 slots (with 29 of those for overseas players). This is a mini-auction with some teams opting to retain bulk of their side while a few have opted for a revamp. The auction for IPL 2021 will offer teams a chance to reset their squads so this year, it will be about preparing for just the upcoming season and not exactly looking at the long haul. In this series, we take a look at what teams need for the upcoming season.
Like Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise has prided itself on consistency in performance which is a byproduct on having a core side that just clicks on most days in the IPL. It is no surprise that season after season, SRH, MI and CSK do well in the league because they do most of their good work in the off-season to be competition-ready when action time starts.
The auction for 2020 will not be any different as SRH have the third lowest purse remaining and joint-second fewest slots remaining to be filled in the squad. Like MI, Hyderabad also have only two overseas slots left to fill with five more (should they even need) slots for domestic players.
With World Cup-winning coach Trevor Bayliss at the helm, they have already made a significant change to their backroom in order to improve their chances of going the distance in the tournament instead of just a playoff finish.
Purse available: Rs 17.00 crores
Remaining slots: 7
Overseas player slots: 2
Players released (5): Shakib Al Hasan (suspended from cricket), Deepak Hooda, Martin Guptill, Ricky Bhui and Yusuf Pathan
Current SRH squad composition
|Kane Williamson||Rashid Khan||Vijay Shankar||Jonny Bairstow|
|David Warner||Bhuvneshwar Kumar||Mohammad Nabi||Wriddhiman Saha|
|Manish Pandey||Khaleel Ahmed||Shahbaz Nadeem||Shreevats Goswami|
Strengths of current squad
As mentioned above, consistency in selection and a strong core means Sunrisers already have a squad from which a solid first XI can be picked.
The obvious strong point of the squad is their top-order batting and superb depth in the bowling line-up. In Bairstow and Warner, they had the most entertaining, supremely productive opening partnership in the 2019 season. Even though Williamson had an ordinary season with the bat, Pandey kicked into form towards the back-end and played crucial hands. The Karnataka captain has been in superb form during the domestic season and will add depth to the top order.
The bowling options with SRH must be the case of envy of many a franchise around the world even if the performances have not always reflected in the last season-and-a-half. But there is enough quality and quantity in their bowling ranks to not bother adding another name to the list in the auction.
What the team needs at the auction
The most obvious question is to find out what the think-tank feels about Shakib’s absence. With Bairstow, Warner, Williamson and Rashid almost nailed on to be the four overseas players if they are fit and available and Nabi offering a strong back-up option, Sunrisers can potentially look elsewhere to bid. Shakib played just three matches in the league last time around but given his form at the World Cup, will still be a big loss for the side. But not so much as to worry them during the auction.
With Bayliss at the helm, it would be a fair assumption to say SRH might go for English talent but a reunion with Eoin Morgan seems unlikely — even though he would be a tremendous addition to the middle order — because of budget and lack of overseas slots in the first XI.
In all likelihood, the franchise’s think-tank will have to get creative to find back-ups to the opening batsmen and a first-choice finisher (ideally Indian) to go with an overseas all-rounder: it will likely to have to be a player not taken up by the teams with depth in their purses. With Rs 17 crore remaining, SRH can go big for one overseas star (one among Chris Morris or Moises Henriques perhaps) and fill up the remaining slots with domestic batting talent.
The team has been overly dependent on the top order and will have to trust their scouting network to find an Indian batting talent who can click into gear as a finisher and take up the role Yusuf Pathan and Deepak Hooda were entrusted to perform, but failed to do so. In that department, Priyam Garg (India’s U-19 captain) and Rohan Kadam (a consistent performer for the consistent Karnataka side) will be worth a punt.