While the original expectation was that the Indian Premier League’s 14th edition would be preceded by a mega auction, franchises are set for another short-term recruitment drive. With no new teams added to the league, the eight existing franchises were given the chance to retain the bulk of their squad. And so, a maximum of 61 slots spread across teams are to be filled up during the IPL 2021 auction, to be held in Chennai. The tournament is expected to be played in India, starting from April. You can read about rest of the teams here.
Sunrisers Hyderabad had perhaps the most fascinating season among the teams in IPL 2020. That word fits their campaign because they started the league as one of the favourites thanks to their consistency over the recent years, but their progress was anything but serene.
Injuries kept cropping up and affected their team balance, while consistency of wins proved too hard to come by. The franchise had some bad luck with injuries throughout their season but they only had themselves to blame on a night when they collapsed in a run-chase against Kings XI Punjab. Given their fitness record, the nature of that collapse and the three remaining fixtures against the top three of the tournament at that point, it seemed like their run of playoff appearances was coming to an end.
But within the group, they found solutions and finished the group stage in a sensational fashion to go all the way till Qualifier 2. Jason Holder was a revelation, while David Warner returned to his big-hitting ways but the surprise weapon was promoting Wriddhiman Saha to open. SRH showed once again they are a shrewd franchise.
Results in last three seasons
|Season||League stage finish||Playoff result|
|IPL 2018||1st||Lost in the final|
|IPL 2019||4th||Lost in the eliminator|
|IPL 2020||3rd||Lost in Qualifier 2|
The identity of the franchise has been to keep their core together whenever possible, much like Chennai Super Kings. Even more so than CSK, if you consider they have barely made any changes to their team set-up over the last few auctions. Ahead of IPL 2020, the most they spent was on Mitchell Marsh at Rs 2 crore while they focussed bringing in young Indian talent. Ahead of IPL 2019, they spent barely anything to bring in three players, all around the base price range. And ahead of IPL 2021, they only have three slots in the entire squad, comfortably the least among all franchises. It was a bit of a surprise to the franchise let Fabien Allen go, however, as the dynamic West Indies allrounder did not get game time last season.
Players released after IPL 2020: Billy Stanlake, Sandeep Bavanaka, Fabian Allen, Sanjay Yadav, Prithviraj Yarra
Player traded in/out: None
There are no perceivable weaknesses in the squad as such for SRH, but there are clear areas to be addressed that have not really changed in the last few seasons. The squad, assuming full availability, is already nearly complete as you can see in the table below, with options all around.
SRH squad for IPL 2021 ahead of auction
|David Warner||Bhuvneshwar Kumar||Jonny Bairstow||Mohammad Nabi|
|Kane Williamson||Rashid Khan||Shreevats Goswami||Abhishek Sharma|
|Manish Pandey||Sandeep Sharma||Wriddhiman Saha||Vijay Shankar|
|Virat Singh||T Natarajan||Mitchell Marsh|
|Priyam Garg||Basil Thampi||Jason Holder|
|Abdul Samad||Shahbaz Nadeem|
Salary cap remaining: Rs 10.75 crores
Overall slots remaining: 3
Overseas slots remaining: 1
Areas to target
- Power-hitter lower down the order
- Spin-bowling allrounder
- Backup overseas pacer
The batting lineup has been top-heavy for Sunrisers for a while now and that is an area that needs to be addressed. They found a good player in Abdul Samad last season and if he keeps improving, SRH have a gem on their hands in that department. But it is still a risk the team is taking in hoping the young Indian talent comes through. Holder’s addition to the squad helped significantly in that regard but an experienced Indian batsman could lend more solidity.
The franchise, as mentioned above, loves the concept of familiarity and could go back for Shakib Al Hasan at the right price, but it is unlikely he will be the first choice in the XI. In Warner, Williamson and Rashid, three overseas slots are nailed down and even a star performer like Bairstow was on the bench as they sought balance.
All in all, it is going to be a very quiet day in Chennai at the SRH table.
IPL 2021: Purse & squad details before auction
|Franchise||Purse remaining (Rs crores)||Available Slots||Overseas Slots|
The auction will be telecast on Star Sports Network on 18 February from 3 pm IST.