With seven slots left to fill, Sunrisers Hyderabad won’t have to brainstorm for the IPL auction as much as some other franchises. They’re a balanced side with only a few holes to fill and all the team needs to do is focus only on those. And we, here at SportsCafe, bring to you a recipe to follow.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad are, quite honestly, one of the best looking sides amongst all eight franchises in the mix that are stepping into the thirteenth edition of the Indian Premier League. The Hyderabad-based franchise, after an incredible run in the 2018 season of the marquee T20 league, were considered favourites to lift the trophy of the 2019 edition. They enjoyed the services of the big guns like Kane Williamson, as their skipper, David Warner, in the form of his life, England’s Jonny Bairstow which has seen their batting unit seem like a tightly packed unit.
However, they lost to the Delhi Capitals in the playoffs and that was a reality check on the team that no side is too perfect. And, so, we have handpicked and served you the best ingredients to the best ever SRH meal. And we promise you it won’t be Warner-heavy.
The Missing Links
There’s always more than one way to success, and even an all-bases covered team like the Sunrisers would need some perfection to the side. They’re bound to have some missing links and those are not hard to find if we look at the squad a bit closely. Last year, the team’s ship was single-handedly sailed by an incredibly high-scoring David Warner, who scored a massive 692 runs at an average of 69.20, but that’s not ideal in a team sport.
So we have extracted the missing links and found out, one of the first things, that they need a quality middle-order batsman to consolidate the batting lineup completely and build the right kind of momentum for the rest of the game. To give a good finishing touch after a well set score by the top-order, a big-hitting finisher would be ideal. And, mind you, it’s not just a luxury, the team absolutely needs one. Now coming to the pace-bowling department, they have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Billy Stanlake, and Khaleel Ahmed. What they would need is an overseas fast bowler who provides that extra pace that’s missing. And the spin department that already sports the likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Shahbaz Nadeem wouldn’t mind a local off-spinner to do the rest.
The Dream Signing - Eoin Morgan
Coming to the dream, THE DREAM, you know what serves as the dream come true for Sunrisers? Well, looking at all the missing links, it’s easy to figure out what consolidates this squad more than anything else. A top-order batsman, who compliments the power-packed openers of the side and gives a strong base to the batting right from the start, especially on days when the openers have a rare stinker. The team have a Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson and Vijay Shankar in the top order. In the last IPL season, the three didn’t produce anything exceptional to make the batting unit seem as strong as it should’ve been.
And as we’ve already established that a quality top-order batsman would help them do away with the woes, we have the World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan, who belongs to the second-highest tier of the base price list in this auction. Morgan is the perfect middle-order batsman in limited-overs, by all means. He not only brings stability to the batting but also provides acceleration when required. Also, the player is in a T20 mode as he also captained the Delhi Bulls team in the recently concluded T10 league. Just before that, he scored a match winning and, in fact, a series defining 91 in the 4th T20I against New Zealand. That’s the dream, isn’t it? No wonder, he going to be in the first set of players to go under the hammer on December 19.
The Realistic Signings - Robin Uthappa and Tim Southee
Now here comes the harder part, nothing bad about it though. Firstly, if the SRH do miss out on signing Morgan, don’t worry there are options aplenty to fill that position. Yes, we would like to keep pushing the franchise to get the top-order batsman who solves many problems. And who better than Robin Uthappa? Firstly, he is Indian. And he has immense IPL experience so what he brings to the table is wholesome and refined. As we did see a drop in his form for the KKR in IPL 12, we do realize he’s not the same Uthappa who in 2014 had set a world record of 40+ scores in 10 consecutive T20 innings. But what Uthappa is capable of is undeniable and speaking of his current form he has done well in the T20s for Kerala and also scored an FC hundred recently. So the facts that his batting is attractive to watch, and is a hard-hitter who has mastered every shot in the book are just added advantages. So if reality really hits hard, let it be Uthappa, with the same base price as Morgan’s, doing the honours.
Now that a realistic approach has solved the middle-order woes for the Sunrisers, it’s time we address the elephant in the room. Something that not many have talked about. A team that is equipped with pacers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, and Billy Stanlake might seem to be a complete bowling unit but we believe an overseas pacer is the most genuine need of the hour for the SRH side. With an undeniably strong T20 form, or in fact, any format that he is playing right now, New Zealand’s seasoned pacer Tim Southee is the one SRH can go for. While many teams would be eyeing the likes of Pat Cummins or a Chris Woakes, Southee is an easier bet. The pacer has IPL experience, can hit the ball hard and has also captained his T20I side with impressive individual numbers. So Southee might just be the one for the Hyderabad team.
The Wildcard - Shahrukh Khan
You know what would be really great for the Sunrisers? A low-key but hard-hitting finisher, who not only bridges their gap between good and great but also adds that exciting X-factor in the side. Count on the Tamil Nadu captain Dinesh Karthik when he speaks highly of Shahrukh Khan, his mate. Perhaps, Karthik would want him in the Kolkata Knight Riders setup too. Alternatively, the TN prodigy could be roped in by the Chennai Super Kings. But if Sunrisers are sure about him and want to go the extra mile and fight it out with the aforementioned franchises, then this hard-hitting all-rounder, who also occasionally bowls off-spin, could be the quirky block in the set system.
After all, he was his state’s finisher during the Vijay Hazare Trophy and did an incredible job in taking his team to the final. Looking at his abilities, he was promoted up the order in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, however, it is a hard proven fact he belongs down the order to provide a smooth finish to his team. So, who knows, this guy could be the one who takes the SRH to the other side of the finishing line.
SportsCafe Suggests - Matt Kelly and Fabian Allen
Here comes a scenario, and just in case, only in case a Southee, a Morgan, a Shahrukh or a Uthappa doesn’t work out for the team, we swoop right in to take you through a couple of cricketers that we think would set the right tone for the franchise. Let’s take you through a quirky way first. Okay, so just in case SRH doesn’t get a Southee, then we have his neighbour to the rescue. 25-year-old Australian pacer, Matthew Kelly, of Perth Scorchers fame, not only brings a young freshness to the team but also the extra pace we had mentioned. Kelly loves his pace and speeds 140 and beyond along with being a death over specialist, which is an extremely significant factor in the T20 format. He is fully equipped with a good sense for yorkers and comes to the rescue during the middle overs and, of course, the death. It would be interesting if SRH use him with the new ball alongside Bhuvi.
What’s a T20 side without some Caribbean touch? Don’t worry, we’ve virtually signed a Calypso for the job. And as we’ve already assigned Kelly to bowling duties, all we need is a hard-hitter and a spinner. But we’ve brought you the best case scenario in the form of Fabian Allen who is equipped with 2-D abilities. A hard-hitter down the order who scores with an immensely fast strike-rate(over 200) in the final five overs of an innings. He has earned a reputation of playing against pace too well and that doesn’t mean he can’t tackle spin. Also his ability to check the opponents’ run-rate, both during the Powerplay and middle overs, makes him an all-round package. And not just that, there’s more. His fielding can be considered as one of the best in the world. So getting Allen in would be not dream, but out of the world-level good.
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