Over the last few years, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have grown to be one of the most consistent sides in the Indian Premier League (IPL). They won the tournament in 2016, beating Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the final. Since then, they’ve made it to the top four every season, and even finished second in 2018. This year too, Hyderabad will be looking to maintain their consistent run.
Like most teams that get to the top and stay there, SRH too have realised the importance of keeping their ‘core’ intact. That core has only gone from strength to strength, with the likes of David Warner, Kane Williamson, Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar establishing themselves in the set up. Add the Manish Pandeys and Jonny Bairstows, and SRH have a team to beat.
The Sunrisers finished fourth in the 2019 edition of the India IPL to qualify for the playoffs, but tasted defeat in the Eliminator against the Delhi Capitals (DC). For IPL 2020, they have made a few changes to their squad and appear ready to firmly contend for the title.
SRH will be without their star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was released after being banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for failing to report approaches from bookies. In the auction, they made some smart buys while focusing on acquiring young Indian talent.
Before David Warner’s side attempted to win their second title in IPL 2020, we carefully analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the SRH squad.
New Additions: Priyam Garg, Virat Singh, Mitchell Marsh, Fabian Allen, Sandeep Bavanaka, Sanjay Yadav, Abdul Samad
Players bought: Seven
Full squad: Kane Williamson, David Warner, Manish Pandey, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mitchell Marsh, Fabian Allen, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sanjay Yadav, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Bavanaka Sandeep.
Captain David Warner and Jonny Bairstow are arguably the best opening combination in IPL 2020, and both batsmen are expected to be absolute nightmares for opposition bowlers over the course of the tournament.
While Warner is the leading run-scorer among overseas players in IPL history, Bairstow had a splendid debut season last year. The Englishman forms a dangerous right-left combination with his captain, and SRH might win many games while the field restrictions are still in place.
Potent and well-rounded spin-attack
One of the major factors behind teams’ success in IPL 2020 will be their spin-attacks, given the characteristics of the pitches on offer in the UAE. And SRH have a very well-rounded spin attack that is spearheaded by Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan. Rashid is ably supported by countryman Mohammad Nabi, who was in incredible form for the St Lucia Zouks in the 2020 Caribbean Premier League.
Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem is very accurate with his lines and lengths, and has an arsenal of variations for a finger-spinner. SRH also have spin-bowling all-rounders in Fabian Allen, Sanjay Yadav, Abdul Samad and Abhishek Sharma.
Enviable blend of youth and experience
A quality of SRH’s IPL 2020 squad that stands out is their near-perfect blend of experience and youth. In David Warner, Kane Williamson, Mohammad Nabi and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, they have players who have been playing international cricket for a very long time, and know the ropes as well as anyone in the game of cricket.
And on the other hand, they have a host of young players who could shine when given chances – Virat Singh, Sanjay Yadav, Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg and Khaleel Ahmed to name a few.
Despite their world-class opening combination, SRH’s middle order is threadbare to say the least. Apart from Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar and Wriddhiman Saha, no Indian player has significant IPL experience. The wicket-keeper is best suited to batting in the powerplay, which he might not get to do.
The other options are Priyam Garg, Virat Singh and Shreevats Goswami, and the former two haven’t played in the IPL yet. Among overseas players, Kane Williamson and Mitchell Marsh may not even get to play due to Nabi’s rich vein of form.
SRH might face the same issue that has plagued the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) over the years – they might be too top-heavy. They will need their young Indian batsmen to perform as soon as they are thrown into the thick of things.
Over-reliance on overseas players
While the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Rajasthan Royals might be over-reliant on their overseas players to step up, SRH certainly are. SRH’s IPL 2020 hopes hinge heavily on Warner, Bairstow and Rashid, and if any of the three players suffer a slump in form, they could be in big trouble.
Moreover, the Australian and English players might miss some part of the start of IPL 2020, and this would leave SRH in a spot of bother at the very start of the tournament. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kane Williamson, both of whom have captained the team in the past, might need to rise to the occasion if this is the case.
SRH will need to ensure that they don’t look to their overseas contingent to win them games single-handedly, and they will need to strike the right balance very early into IPL 2020.
Young players in SRH
SRH have a number of young Indian players who are rated very highly. Due to the team’s deficiencies, they will be afforded chances and it will be completely up to them to make the most of the opportunities that they get.
SRH’s young players may not only get a lot of chances due to the team composition but also because of the format of IPL 2020. The tournament is the first top-level cricket tournament that most involved are playing in a long time, and it will take place in the sweltering UAE conditions with as many as ten double-headers.
Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Khaleel Ahmed, and Abhishek Sharma will all be raring to go, and they have the apt mentors in the senior players of the team like Warner, Williamson, Nabi, Rashid and Bhuvneshwar.
Host of experienced players wanting to prove a point
Apart from the solid young Indian contingent, SRH also have experienced players who have a point to prove in IPL 2020. Wriddhiman Saha’s prowess with the bat has been under criticism for the majority of his career, and the wicket-keeper’s slot in the Indian Test team has been a game of hot potato between him and Rishabh Pant. A successful showing in IPL 2020 could convince the selectors of his abilities in front of the stumps.
Manish Pandey has made himself a T20I regular, but isn’t quite settled in the ODI team yet. He will want to do well with T20 World Cups scheduled for 2021 and 2022. Vijay Shankar hasn’t played much for India since the 2019 World Cup, and he could still make a run for a spot in the country’s limited-overs teams.
Nadeem made his Test debut in 2019 but has fallen off the radar again, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar is coming back from injury and will want to make a swift return to international cricket in all three formats. SRH will be boosted by these players, all of whom are motivated to scale greater heights in the near future using their IPL 2020 displays.
Problem of plenty with Indian pacers
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Siddarth Kaul and Vijay Shankar – SRH simply have far too many Indian pacers.
Among these players, only Shankar and Bhuvneshwar are assured spots in the playing XI, and the others will have to fight it out among themselves. Without a settled bowling combination, Warner will have a selection headache on his hands in IPL 2020.
A poor game or two could completely break one of these players’ IPL 2020 hopes, and SRH will have to be very careful with the opportunities they give and the team-rotations they decide to enforce.
Pressure on young Indian players
In such an inexperienced middle-order and with a stacked bowling attack, the Indian players will be under immense pressure to deliver and support the overseas contingent.
This isn’t an ideal situation for anyone involved, as they’ll thrown right into the deep end and be expected to perform right from the outset. However, it could result in some players truly upping their game, which is why this is classified as a threat and not as a weakness.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s fitness
With Bhuvneshwar being the leader of the pace attack, he will be under immense pressure already. Add to that the fact that he is coming back from a series of injuries.
The right-arm pacer might not be rested even if he needs it, and given the circumstances that IPL 2020 is taking place in, he is at high risk of injury.
The 30-year-old is arguably SRH’s most important bowler, both with the new ball and at the death, and his fitness (and form) could be the defining factor in the team’s season. If Bhuvneshwar is not able to shine, SRH will be in a load of trouble.
~Written by Diyali Chauhan
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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