Throwing light on Kane Williamson’s absence, SRH coach Trevor Bayliss revealed that the Kiwi star is still not 100% match-fit before insisting that he will come into calculations during the tournament. He also added that Vijay Shankar was promoted ahead of Abdul Samad due to his form in the nets.
Sunrisers Hyderabad triggered a major debate when Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson was dropped to the bench for their IPL opener against Kolkata Knight Riders. While it was largely speculated that Jonny Bairstow was preferred due to his spectacular form, SRH coach Trevor Bayliss confirmed that the Kiwi batsman was not 100% match-fit, which prompted them to play their English star at No.4.
On the night, batting at No.4, Bairstow took full advantage of the situation with a brilliant 40-ball 55 before slashing one to point off Pat Cummins’ bowling. While the coach confirmed that Williamson might need a little bit more time, he also clearly specified that the Kiwi star will come into calculations as the tournament progresses.
"We just felt that Kane needed a little bit of extra time to get match fit and a little bit more time in the nets," Bayliss said after the game, reported Cricbuzz.
"He would have played in place of Jonny Bairstow obviously if that had occurred. But we aren't too perturbed about that, Jonny has been in form recently in white-ball cricket here in India. Kane will obviously come into calculations as the tournament unfolds."
The controversy only triggered by the fact that the English star was dropped to accommodate Williamson in the middle-order last year. However, Bayliss confirmed that players who performed well during the last stage of the tournament last year would be rewarded with opportunities.
"We got off to a slow start last tournament but came back well to reach the finals (playoffs). Someone like Saha opening and batting so well in that tournament we felt we should reward the guys who finished it so well for us last year.”
With 57 runs needed off 24 deliveries, SRH were still mathematically in the game, with a firm Manish Pandey at the crease with a steady-hitter Abdul Samad still in the dugout. However, SRH management decided to send Vijay Shankar ahead of Samad, a decision that ultimately led to a ten-run loss for them on the night.
"Vijay in our practice matches that we had a few days ago was our best player. He struck the ball beautifully and made 95 in one of the games, hit a lot of the balls long way over the fence. It's always difficult in those situations whenever you go in you have to go pretty much from the first ball you face,” Bayliss admitted.
"Samad in a short space of time last IPL and this one has shown that he has a lot of talent and is a clean striker of the ball. I think as he gets more experience, he will get more opportunities," he concluded.