Kumar Sangakkara is Sunrisers Hyderabad's biggest bet.
New Delhi: In October 2012, Sun TV took over the ownership of the Hyderabad franchise of the Indian Premier League from Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited due to prolonged financial issues. The new team was named Sunrisers Hyderabad and they retained the 20 players from the terminated Deccan franchise. They also roped in Tom Moody as their head coach and Waqar Younis as bowling consultant for the sixth edition of the cash-rich league which kicks off from April 3.
The IPL 2012 did not prove good for the Hyderabad franchise as they won only four matches out of 16 and finished second from bottom. Their bowling in particular lacked bite and apart from Dale Steyn, who picked up 18 wickets at an economy of 6.10, no other bowler left a mark. Their batting was led by Shikhar Dhawan (569 runs at a strike-rate of 129.61) and Craig White (479 runs at a strike-rate of 149.68). They both cracked five half-centuries each and Dhawan finished as the third highest run-getter in the tournament behind Chris Gayle and Gautam Gambhir. Twice in the tournament, however, Deccan lost matches after scoring in excess of 190.
This year the franchise bought a few quality overseas players in the auction - Darren Sammy, Thisara Perera, Clint McKay and Quinton de Kock - but the lack of enterprising domestic Indian players is their bane. They already had overseas cricketers like Kumar Sangakkara, JP Duminy, Steyn and White in their squad, and it will be an uphill task for them to pick just four overseas players in the playing XI.
The team has been dealt a blow, however, in the news from the BCCI that Dhawan faces a four to six-week lay-off after fracturing a finger on Test debut against Australia - the same match in which he thumped an explosive 187. He had a fantastic IPL 5 and remains the fulcrum of Sunrisers' batting. In Dhawan's absence, Parthiv Patel is most likely to open the innings with Sangakkara and White batting in the middle order. Hyderabad lack a couple of batsmen who could hold the innings in case the top order crumbles. Hanuma Vihari and Akshath Reddy will have to step up and make useful contributions. With South African allrounder JP Duminy ruled out of IPL 6 Hyderabad have lost a big-hitter capable of taking advantage of the last few overs of an innings.
Steyn is the spearhead of the team's fast bowling and Ishant Sharma will assist him. McKay is likely to get a few games. Amit Mishra and Nathan McCullum form the spin-bowling department. Sammy and Perera are very resourceful allrounders in the T20 format but it will be interesting to see how they fit into the playing XI given the presence of first-choice overseas players like Sangakkara, Steyn and White.
A look at Hyderabad's squad indicate most of their key players, barring Dhawan, are overseas so despite having a string of good allrounders, they will find it hard to pick the balanced playing XI given the acute dearth of good Indian domestic cricketers. Their bowling especially looks totally dependent on Steyn. The likes of Ishant will do good to glean a few tricks of trade from Younis. It'll take outstanding performances of few individual players for Sunrisers to make their mark in the IPL 2013.
Do you think Sunrisers will go the Deccan way in IPL 6?