Back in 2020, towards the business end of the campaign, Sunrisers Hyderabad looked down and out in the race for the playoffs in the Indian Premier League.
David Warner’s men are known for being there and thereabouts in the playoff equation. In 2021, it is a matter of converting that into a championship.
In the new format of playing matches at neutral venues, no team might have hit the sweet spot better than SRH. They start their season with five matches in Chennai followed by four in Delhi which could be music to the ears of Rashid Khan and the rest of the bowlers who thrive with their cutters.
Their next three matches will be played in Kolkata before two games in Bengaluru. Their league season will start and end with a match against KKR. Interestingly, their final match being on May 21 means these two teams will close their campaign while DC and CSK have two matches remaining. There are potential Net Run Rate confusions there.
Players bought by SRH at auction
|Kedar Jadhav||All-Rounder||Rs 20000000|
|Mujeeb Zadran||Bowler||Rs 15000000|
|J Suchith||Bowler||Rs 3000000|
As for the team itself, it was no surprise to see SRH barely lift their paddles at the auction. They had not released too many players and they recruited the fewest. Interestingly, VVS Laxman said they missed out on Glenn Maxwell and Shivam Dube because of budget constraints. That tells you that they have clearly identified power-hitting in the lower order as an area of concern but haven’t really addressed it, or have too high a hope with Kedar Jadhav.
As for the rest of the squad, things are pretty much the same as last season. Mitchell Marsh pulling out should not really affect them, given where they are playing their matches. Jason Roy, his replacement, is unlikely to feature heavily either given the fact that even Bairstow had to sit out last season when SRH played another overseas all-rounder.
SRH squad for IPL 2021
|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||Jason Holder|
|Priyam Garg||Basil Thampi|
|Abdul Samad||Shahbaz Nadeem|
|Kedar Jadhav||Siddharth Kaul|
|Jason Roy||Khaleel Ahmed|
Trevor Bayliss remains the head coach but he is joined by a familiar name in the franchise as Tom Moody returns as Director of Cricket. His arrival will be an interesting one, to see what the dynamic is between the Warner-Bayliss-Moody trio. VVS Laxman and Muttiah Muralitharan are also part of the support staff.
India’s T20 World Cup plans
A sidetrack during IPL 2021 is going to be seeing how India’s T20 World Cup squad probables / hopefuls / outsiders perform.
- The franchise would have been delighted to see Bhuvneshwar Kumar return close to his very best in the recent India-England matches. Of course, that is first and foremost great news for Indian cricket but the pacer’s injury worries have hampered SRH too and they would hope for a full season from their serial wicket-taker in the league.
- T Natarajan has emerged in the last six months as an unlikely X-Factor selection for Virat Kohli and Co and he would love to keep up his form from last season that saw him get on the plane to Australia in the first place, before eventually earning rich praise from the Indian captain and being hailed as a co-player of the series after the T20Is Down Under.
- Manish Pandey is just about looking in from the outside, given the abundance of middle order options India have at the moment. He will once again have plenty of responsibility in a top-heavy SRH lineup and might hope to impress the selectors with a good season.
The Big Question
- SRH showed remarkable character to bounce back in 2020, every time it felt they would be out of running for the playoffs. One of the reasons for their late resurgence was the return to aggressive ways of Warner. In 2021, the question would not just be about Warner’s approach but also his fitness. For starters, he thrives on running between the wickets as hard as he can in this format... will we see that again? Or will he model himself more on the conserve and deliver style? As a captain, he will have a few decisions to make on the overseas contingent too through the season.
Most Valuable Player
- It would have been apt to mention Rashid Khan here irrespective of the schedule or venues for SRH but with the franchise playing nine matches in Chennai and Delhi, his importance to the lineup increases furthermore. There have been occasions in the recent past when teams have looked to play out the four overs of Rashid and go after the remaining bowlers, but with Bhuvi back and in conditions that he could enjoy, expect the Afghan star to be more influential with his wicket-taking skills.
Uncapped player to look out for
- He almost played a blinder in the Qualifier 2 defeat last season, he showed sparks of his abilities with his bat and with a full season under his belt, Abdul Samad might go up a step or two if he can tap into his immense potential. Especially so because his skillset is an area of perceived weakness for SRH. They often struggle with their lower order batting and if the youngster can marry his belligerence with consistency, it will come as a massive relief for Warner and Co.
IPL 2021 SRH Schedule
Ideal playing XI
David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma.
SRH's results in every IPL season
|Season||League stage finish||Playoff result|
|IPL 2013||4th out of 9|
|IPL 2017||3rd||Lost in the eliminator|
|IPL 2018||1st||Lost in the final|
|IPL 2019||4th||Lost in the eliminator|
|IPL 2020||3rd||Lost in Qualifier 2|